Not only do we do it in the routine of class in a Port de bras forward, but we also find ourselves forward over a computer or sitting forward reading the paper over a morning coffee.
Backbends counteract this constant forward bending, and they can invigorate, uplift and open your body. For dancers in particular, backbends are extremely helpful in increasing the extension of the spine for an improved cambré and arabesque.
Try this Flexistretcher enhanced wheel pose to counteract forward bending and increase your spinal activity!
- Place the foam center of the Flexistretcher around your shins and the loops around you wrists.
- Feet should be flat on the floor, close to your glutes and hip width distance apart.
- Keep your fingers pointing down towards your shoulders and elbows drawing in.
- Press firmly into the feet and hands to rise up to the crown of the head, then lifting into full wheel pose.
- Performing the wheel with the Flexistretcher encourages you to stay active in the legs while opening deeply in the upper body.
POSE: High Lunge
- Bring the foam of the Flexistretcher under the arch of one foot, hold onto the straps of the Flexistretcher in each hand.
- Step the opposite leg back, bending the front knee until it's a 90 degree angle over the front ankle.
- Pull up on the straps of the Flexistretcher to engage the upper body.
- The use of the Flexistretcher in this posture, makes you really focus on staying engaged through the entire body.
- Make sure not to sway into the lower spine, keep the tailbone lengthening towards the floor.
POSE: Chair Pose
- With toes together and heels slightly apart sit the hips down behind the heels, as if you were sitting back into a chair.
- Placing the foam of the Flexistretcher under the feet and holding onto the loops, bend at the elbows, pulling the arms towards the chest to work biceps, or keeping the arms straight, pull the arms back to work on the triceps.
- Binding variation, use the Flexistretcher in between the hands, adding more length in the arms allowing you to achieve the bind.
POSE: Dancer's Pose
- Stand firmly on one leg
- Bend the opposite leg and place the foam of the Flexistretcher around the top of the back ankle, keeping the foot flexed
- Hands are on each strap and next to your sides
- Begin to kick the back leg into the Flexistretcher as it rises behind you
- As the leg kicks up and back, the torso can travel an equal amount forward
- Using the Flexistretcher in this posture allows you to focus on opening through the shoulders and gain more length into the posture.
- Avoid "crunching" in the lower spine by staying lifted in the abdominals and opened in the chest and shoulders.
- Gain more strength and flexibility in the spine
- Improved balance
POSE: Camel Pose
- Place the Flexistretcher center under your shins and hold onto one loop in each hand.
- Press your arms up into the strap as you back bend to achieve a full spinal extension.
- Focus on lifting the heart towards the sky rather than sinking in the lower spine.
POSE : Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
SANSKRIT : Utthita hasta padangusthasana
- Stand firmly on one leg, bringing the sole of the other foot to the foam of the Flexistretcher and hold onto a strap in each hand
- While lifting up in the abdominals and standing leg, extend the lifted leg in front of you up to hip height
- If hamstrings are tight, keep a bend in the lifted leg and focus on keeping a lengthened spine
- For a deeper stretch, gently lift the top leg closer towards the torso, but make sure to keep the spine lengthened and hips square.
POSE: Extended Side Angle
SANSKRIT: Utthita Parsvakonasana
Stance is like Warrior II, with one loop of the Flexistretcher around the back foot
Grab other loop with the back arm before extending it up and overhead, making a straight line from tips of top fingertips to the outside edge of the back foot
Front forearm comes to top thigh
Try to avoid putting too much weight into the bottom forearm
Stay lifted in your side waists
Keep front thigh parallel to ground
For a fuller posture, bottom arm can come to the fingertips or palm just outside the right foot
If hand can’t reach ground outside of front leg, bring hand to a block on any height
Strengthen for the lower body and side waists
Stretches legs, groin & spine
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POSE: Bound Extended Side Angle Pose
SANSKRIT: Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana
Begin in extended side angle pose
Release bottom forearm from front thigh
Hold the Flexistretcher by the flexible elastic center and bring behind the back
For a full bind, bring the bottom arm underneath the front thigh, internally rotating, to grab for the Flexistretcher behind your back
Stay open in the shoulders during the bind.
Try to rotate the chest so it lifts up towards the ceiling
Deep breath in the lengthen, exhale to twist deeper
Opens and strengthens the shoulders, chest, back and lower body
Allows for deeper breathing
THE PERFECT PORTABLE TOOL TO ENHANCE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE!
Rather than using static or flimsy exercise straps of the past that force you into position or may break in usage, the Flexistretcher combines stretch with durability.
Originally designed for professional ballet dancers and athletes, the Flexistretcher’s custom designed parts and adjustable straps are built to withstand daily extreme use. Utilizing elastic training methods when working with the Flexistretcher allows one to find a safe level of extension while increasing strength in the muscles to hold the position. Using the Flexistretcher to free your arms, find correct form, or deepen a stretch, challenges the muscles with in the position and takes your practice to new levels!
Here are a few ways the Flexistretcher can enhance your practice:
Adding the strap to any pose gives an added resistance and challenges the muscles in new ways. Hold the Flexistretcher at the center, shoulder width apart when executing Mountain Pose or Warrior 1 to draw attention to the reaching of your arms.
Improve flexibility with common poses such as the forward bend! Stand on the center of the strap and grab the loops in your hands. Fold forward as you pull up on the straps to intensify the stretch and really target those hamstrings.
Stretch your boundaries and increase your body awareness to evolve your practice to new levels!
Did you know you can flow with the FLX Ball?
A Yoga Vinyasa Flow is enhanced when the FLX Ball is placed between the ankles. This use of the Ball prevents incorrect form especially in those individuals who are hypermobile and tend to collapse into the hypermobility of their arms and legs.
Try this flow with the FLX Ball!
Make sure to not over-arch the back or settle in to the flexibility of the shoulders.
Engage your abdominal muscles throughout the entirety of the fluid movement.
Hands are shoulder width apart with fingers spread wide.
Hug elbows into your side as you lower your body half way down.
- As the upper arms roll out, the shoulder blades must be gliding onto the back in the downward dog pose.
DANCER’S POSE | Natarajasana
This pose is great to improve leg strength for balances, leg movements to the back such as the arabesque, spinal extension and mental focus.
Performing this pose with the Flexistretcher can help you extend your reach and allow you to concentrate on form, control and full muscle activation.
Here are some key points to focus on:
- Focus on scapular mobility in this pose. Watch out for over mobilizing the shoulder joint when getting the arms into the position. For a general rule of thumb do not let the arms go behind your head.
- Engage the abdominals to encourage a full spinal extension and really focus on mobility in the extension of the thoracic spine. Watch out for sinking into hyper mobility in the lower spine.
- Keep the standing leg parallel and activated. Watch out for locking back in the standing knee. Rather than locking into a passive position with your weight in the heel, fully activate the muscles of the standing leg to support and protect the knee with your weight evenly distributed. Pull up on the thigh while co contracting the hamstring.
- Press through the 3 points of the standing foot ( the ball of the big toe, the ball of the little toe, and the heel) and keep arch lifted.
- It can be a challenge to keep the lifted leg adducted and internally rotated at the hip joint. Although you might find more extension through external rotation at the hip joint, this involves the risk of over mobilizing the SI joint or overextending the lumbar spine.
- As you press the back foot into the strap, you can start to lean forward. This is where it is key to keep dropping the tailbone down to release the low back. Make sure hips are square to the floor.
- Keep elbows pointed up towards the sky by pressing hands into the strap. To deepen the pose walk your hands down the strap drawing the foot closer to your head.
Practicing this pose utilizing the resistance of the Flexistretcher is a great way to fully activate the muscles at your back, hamstrings, arms and abdominals all at once rather than using your arm strength to pull your self into the pose.Read More
POSE: Seated Spinal Twist
SANSKRIT: Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Different leg variations include:
- One leg straight, one leg bent /w foot flat on the ground
- Flat foot can cross over straight leg
- If both hips stay on ground, straight leg can bend in bringing it close to the opposite hip
From here, same arm as bend top leg sits as close to the tail bone as possible, bringing your other arm reaches to the outside part of the top leg to make a twist
- To achieve the bind, hold the foam of the Flexistretcher with the top arm, threading that arm through the raised leg. Grab ahold of the foam with the other hand.
*Focus on lengthening the spine with each inhale, and twisting deeper on each exhale*