STRIKE A POSE

Cat & Cow

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Instructions

  • Come to all fours. Bring your wrists directly underneath your shoulders and your hips right above your knees. 
  • Look down at the mat in front of you so that your head, neck and spine are in a neutral position. 
  • Inhale, lift your chest, arch your back, drop your belly and look up. 
  • Exhale, round your back, drop your head, tuck your chin to your chest and draw your abs in.
  • Repeat 4-8 times, inhaling into Cow, and exhaling into Cat.
  • Come back to centre.


Benefits

  • Increases spinal mobility.
  • Loosens up the hips and shoulders. 
  • Stretches the abs, back, shoulders and neck.
  • Improves posture.
  • Trains breath awareness.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate lower back, neck and shoulder pain.
  • Relieves stress and tension.

Child

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Instructions

  • Come to all fours with your knees directly underneath your hips, your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet pointing straight back. 
  • Sit back on your heels and rest your forehead on the mat.
  • Relax your arms by your sides, palms facing up and let go of tension across your upper back and shoulders.
  • Stay in the pose for 2-5 minutes, breathing in and out through your nose. Inflate your lungs on every inhalation as much as you can especially into the back of your ribcage and let go of tension on every exhalation.
  • To come out of the pose, take a deep breath in, bring your palms to the mat. Exhale, push yourself back up to kneeling.

Benefits

  • Gently stretches the upper and lower back, hips, knees and ankles.
  • Relaxes the body and calms the mind.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate back, shoulder and neck pain.
  • Relieves anxiety, stress and fatigue.
  • Eases headaches.

Cobra

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Instructions

  • Lie face down on the mat with your hands underneath your shoulders. Hug your elbows into your sides. 
  • Bring your legs about hip-width apart and press the tops of your feet into the mat.
  • Inhale, press into your palms and lift your chest off the mat. Exhale, draw your shoulders back and broaden across your collarbones. 
  • Look straight ahead so as not to compress the back of your neck.
  • Stay in the pose for 5 deep breaths, in and out through your nose. 
  • Take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower down to the mat. Rest your left cheek on the mat, bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up, and rock your hips from side to side a few times to release your lower back

Benefits

  • Stretches the abs.
  • Opens up the chest.
  • Increases spinal mobility.
  • Strengthens the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and upper back.
  • Improves posture.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate upper back pain.

Downward Dog

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Instructions

  • From all fours, walk your hands forward a few inches.
  • Tuck your toes and lift your hips up, keeping your knees bent. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms evenly into the mat—index fingers point straight ahead. 
  • Try to straighten your elbows and allow your head to hang naturally between your arms.
  • Check that both knees point straight ahead and do not fall in towards each other. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. 
  • The aim of this pose is to keep your spine straight, so you can bend your knees as much as you need to, to prevent rounding the lower back.
  • When you’re ready, gently press your heels back towards the mat. 
  • Hold the pose for 5 deep breaths, in and out through your nose.
  • Take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower back down to all fours.


Benefits

  • Stretches the ankles, calves, hamstrings, back, chest and shoulders. 
  • Strengthens the feet, legs, hips, glutes, back, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate lower back, upper back and shoulder pain.

Chair

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Instructions

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing straight ahead. 
  • Sweep your arms forward and up, directly overhead. Bring your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing each other. 
  • Bend your knees, draw your hips back and sit back in Chair.
  • Distribute your weight evenly between your toes and heels and don’t let your knees come forward over your ankles.
  • Check that both knees point straight ahead and do not fall in towards each other or out to the sides. 
  • Without moving the position of your feet, you should feel as though your heels are turning in towards each other. This will stabilise your hips and align your kneecaps correctly.
  • Reach through your fingertips and contract your abs. Draw your ribs in to prevent your lower back from arching.
  • Hold the pose for 5 deep breaths, in and out through your nose. 
  • Take a deep breath in, reach through your fingertips. Exhale, stand up and bring your hands back down by your sides.


Benefits

  • Strengthens the feet, ankles, knees, legs, hips, glutes, core, back, shoulders and arms.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate lower back and knee pain.

Warrior 2

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Instructions 

  • From salute step your left foot towards the back of the mat and turn it in slightly. 
  • Check that your front heel lines up with the arch of your back foot, face forwards and bring your arms up to shoulder height.
  • Reach through your fingertips and drop your hips. Try to bring your front thigh parallel to the mat.
  • Check that your right knee is directly over your right ankle and tracking over your second toe. 
  • Press back through your left foot and keep your back leg engaged. 
  • Make sure that your upper body is not leaning forward—stack your ribcage on top of your pelvis.
  • Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths, in and out through your nose. 
  • Take a deep breath in. Exhale, step forward to Mountain pose and switch sides. 


Benefits

  • Strengthens the feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips, glutes, core, arms and shoulders.
  • Stretches the calves, hamstrings, groin, hips, chest and shoulders.
  • Opens up the hips.

Therapeutic

  • Can help to alleviate knee pain.