Reverse Prayer Yoga Pose Arm Position

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Reverse prayer can be a good way to prepare for wheel pose.

You can practice reverse prayer position (hands behind the back with palms together) while sitting or standing, or while bending forwards and stretching the hamstrings in parsvottanasana.

parsvottanasana, reverse prayer forward fold, shoulder stretch for fronts of shoulders, hamstring stretch

This arm position can be used to help stretch your chest and the fronts of the shoulders. It's also stretches the fronts (palm side) of the wrists.

Preparing Your Shoulders

The first part of getting your arms into position behind your back is rolling the arms inwards while reaching them back (and out) at the same time.

You could think of this as "internally rotating" the arms.

If you have trouble doing this with both arms at the same time, then practice first with one arm at a time as shown below.

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When you internally rotate the arm at the shoulder, the front of the arms roll inwards. This means that the back of the arms roll outwards, away from the spine.

This helps to give you room so that you can bring your hands together behind your back.

Practicing Internal Rotation for the Shoulders

You may find that if you rotate your arms inwards enough, then when you bend your elbows your forearms move behind your back. In this case, with arms rolled inwards, your forearms will be pointing slightly backwards.

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I'd suggest that if you can't get your hands behind your back, then practice internally rotating your arms. Rather than holding the internal rotation you practice rotating and then releasing in time with your breath. Focus on feeling your arms and shoulders as you practice and see if you can notice where the tight spots are. Again you may also benefit by working with one arm at a time. Do not be afraid to bend your ribcage forwards as you rotate your arms inwards.

Hand Options

Even if you can internally rotate your arms you may still have difficulty getting your palms together in reverse prayer.

An option, shown below is to make both hands into fists.

When doing the double fist option, you can first have the back of the hands against your back.

Then flip your fists so that the bottom of each fist faces downwards (bottom left two pictures).

Then with both hands in fists progress to one hand open (bottom right). Note that with this option, with just the right hand fisted you could try starting with both hands to the right. Then gradually move your hands to the center of your back.

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One you are able to do reverse prayer comfortably, another option for increasing shoulder and wrist flexibility is to move both hands to the side with palms together.

Move both hands to the right so that your hands are to the right side of your ribcage, but behind your back (shown below). Then try the same thing to the left.

reverse prayer with hands to the side, prayer behind the back with hands to one side.

Opening Your Chest and Shoulders

Once you can get your hands together behind your back in reverse prayer you can practice moving your shoulders and elbows back.

You can do this using any of the above hand positions. I'd suggest that again you practice doing this in sync with your breath.

As you inhale open your chest (bend you thoracic spine backwards) and at the same time move your elbows back to open the front of your shoulders. Then as you exhale relax your chest and let your elbows move forwards (first two pictures below).

As you get used to the position you can keep your chest open and your elbows back. You can also work at sliding your hands higher up your back (last picture below.)

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Reverse prayer can be a good way to prepare and open the chest for wheel pose.

Do You Really Understand How To Use Active Stretching?

Some people think that active stretching is simply activating the muscles that opposes the muscle being stretched. What if there is just a little bit more to it than that?

Active Stretching

How can yoga make you a better biker?

With yoga exercises designed by a rider to help you become better aware of your body while riding.

Yoga for Motorcyclists

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Yoga For Motorcyclists

The yoga for motorcyclists is designed to help you become a better rider by learning how to better feel and control your body. The exercises focus on one of the harder (and funner) parts of motorcycling, cornering. You'll learn how body position and posture can shift your center with respect to your bike. And you'll learn how to feel these changes. And that translates to improved body awareness so that you can corner with confidence.

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One way is by learning to stabilize parts of your body. Learn how to use tension to stabilize parts of your body so that you can improve your ability to balance.

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Shoulder Stretches

Two types of shoulder stretches: Muscle assisted shoulder stretches use the opposite arm to drive the stretch. Gravity assisted shoulder stretches use body weight to help drive the stretch.

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Yoga for cyclists

Here's both a quick set of stretches for cyclists and a slightly longer set. My assumption is that for cyclists the tight spots are going to be the hamstrings and the hip flexors.

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Should you exercise your abs if you've got low back pain? Why work on hip stability while standing instead?

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Twisting Triangle pose (prvritta trikonasana) can be an excellent pose for working on hip joint stability and core control. By stabilizing the hips first the abs then have a stable foundation (the pelvis) from which to turn and twist the ribcage.

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Active Stretching for Hip Flexibility

Active stretching teaches you two basic techniques for adding muscle power to assist your stretches.

You use either the muscles that resist the stretch or you use the muscles that assist the stretch.

In either case you not only improve flexibility, you work on strength and muscle control at the same time.

Now available on Amazon.

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Tips for preparing the shoulders for Dolphin yoga pose.

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I've included some standing poses in "Yoga Poses for the Abs." Using the legs you can stabilize the pelvis. Then the abs have a foundation from which to work on moving the ribcage.

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Yoga for Motorcyclists ebook

If you find yourself lacking cornering confidence while riding a motorbike, the exercises in "Yoga for Motorcyclists" are designed to help you understand what you are trying to do while cornering to make cornering less scary. The exercises are specifically designed to help you better feel your body and control it so that you can better control your bike.

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Basic Principles for Sensational Yoga Poses (video)

Here's a general "lecture" on basic principles as I see them and how they apply to creating a "sensational" yoga pose (one in which you are as present as possible.)

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These standing and seated side stretches are great for stretching the side of the waist.

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Standing Meditation Instructions (Video)

Basic instruction for doing a standing meditation. I do meridian, chakra and anatomy meditations all while standing. This video goes over the basic set up for standing with balanced tension (or "tuned tension") throughout the body.

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Active Stretching Yoga Routine Part 2

Here's part 2 of the yoga routine used for active stretching. I use the routine as a whole for teaching my students the muscle actions that make active stretching an effective stretching technique.

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Some slightly different yoga poses to improve balance, including standing, kneeling and rolling.

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Active Stretching Yoga Sequence Part 1

Here's the first part of the yoga pose sequence used in the Active Stretch ebook.

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The Importance of Both Thoracic Stability and Scapular Stability in Yoga

Here's a quick look at why scapular stability and thoracic stability are important. They allow you to do certain types of yoga poses with greater ease.

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Scapular Stability (video)

Here's my latest video on scapular stability.

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