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Pose of the week…

Not like that - naughty! We're talking about yoga, of course.

With homeschooling and WFH the new normal, we’re all going to be spending a lot of time hunched over the dining room table – not ideal for those of us who already suffer from creaky necks, shoulders and backs.

We’ve asked two brilliant Warwickshire yoga instructors to show us a simple exercise to release the tension. All you need is 5-10 minutes, plus a yoga mat.

Just read the instructions below before you start.

Yoga teacher and Ayurveda practitioner Sara Palmer, of Love Yoga Healing, Stratford-upon-Avon

My pose of the week is…Supported Bridge Pose

This simple posture has many benefits and amongst them are a calming effect on the brain and nervous system, alongside stimulation for the abdominal organs and lungs.

This makes it the perfect posture to practice during lockdown, to combat any stresses arising from the changes to our daily life, and giving a little TLC to that all important respiratory system.

Adding the simple breathing practice described here to this posture practice may help to energise and strengthen the respiratory system some more, as well as calm the mind.

1. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day in a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. You could perhaps put on your favourite relaxing music to enhance the effects of the supported bridge posture

2. You will need a Yoga or Pilates brick, or a bolster. Alternatively if you don’t have these props you can substitute with folded towels or a pillow wrapped in a towel.

Suggested props

3. Lie on your mat on a blanket or yoga mat, with knees bent hip width apart, feet placed directly under your knees.

4. Push down through the feet to lift the hips and place the prop under your sacrum, on that flat bone at the base of your spine. Your tail bone should be just over the front of the prop.

5. Place your palms on the sides of your rib cage, and begin to feel the movement of your breath underneath your hands.

6. If you can, try to make your inhales and exhales equal, inhaling to three or four counts, and exhaling to three or four counts.

7. Feel the breath rise under your hands on the inhale, fall away from your hands on the exhale. 

8. Breathe this way for a few minutes,

9. You might then just like to rest your hands alongside you and relax into the effortless rise and fall of your breathing.

10. Alternatively, to enjoy a little more of the calming, grounding effect of this practice, place your palms on your lower belly and rest your attention there, observing again the movement of the natural rhythm of your breathing now. You can stay like this 5 minutes, 10 minutes or for a long as the practice feels replenishing.To finish, remove the prop from under the hips and gently hug the knees into your chest, softly rocking side to side.

Hatha Yoga teacher Julie Alexander-Cooper, of Parkstreetlifestyle, Kenilworth.

Julie is passionate about yoga and qualified as a yoga teacher with Friends of Yoga (Fryog) 22 years ago. She teaches inclusive classes for all abilities and also devises yoga programmes for students with specific health disorders such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MS and insomnia, undergoing cancer treatment and seated yoga for students with less mobility. Julie has recently investigated the positive impact of yoga practice on insomnia and quality of life at the University of Oxford Neuroscience Department.  

My posture of the week is…Wrist Stretch

This is a fabulous posture for releasing tension in the wrists, arms, shoulders and upper back. This stretch helps to deter repetitive strain injury caused through computer, tablet and phone use, stress and anxiety.

1. Kneel in Thunderbolt position with the bottom resting on your heels softly.

2. Breath in gently through the nose and gently moving the torso forwards, lifting the bottom away from your heels.

3. Place your hands flat on the floor directly in front of your knees, with the fingers pointing towards your knees, breathing out.

4. Slowly bring the bottom closer towards your heels, breathing in, you feel that you are stretching the arms, wrists and shoulders but it shouldn’t be painful, breath out.

5. Hold this position breathing in and out slowly to allow the stretch to become easier.

6. Then release the hands, moving back to sitting and circle the wrists a few times clockwise and anti-clockwise, shaking out the hands returning to gentle, natural in and out breath. This posture can be practiced daily.

  • The centre provides personally tailored health and wellbeing programmes and has taken all of their sleep, health, yoga, exercise and wellbeing sessions online using the Zoom platform.

Find more ideas here

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