Guided Yoga: Upward Salute and Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Guided YogaKnowledge Center

Two poses for today are Upward Salute and Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Upward Salute and Wide-Legged Forward Bend 

Upward Salute

Upward Salute is a natural way to stretch the whole body, often done automatically after sleeping or sitting for long periods. Standing up and reaching the arms overhead awakens the body from toes to fingertips, providing a boost of energy. It’s a simple way to feel rejuvenated!

Steps:
    1. Begin standing with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Press your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet. If you have trouble balancing, stand with your feet six inches apart (or wider).
    2. Drawdown through your heels and straighten your legs. Press down across all four corners of both feet. Then, lift your ankles and the arches of your feet. Squeeze your outer shins toward each other.
    3. Engage your quadriceps, drawing the tops of your thighs up and back. Rotate your thighs slightly inward, widening your sit bones.
    4. Tuck your tailbone slightly, without rounding your lower back. Bring your pelvis to its neutral position and keep your hips even with the centerline of your body. Slightly draw your belly in.
    5. Broaden across your collarbones. Elongate your neck. Release your shoulder blades away from your head and toward the back of your waist.
    6. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in one line. Turn your arms so your palms face forward, fingers reaching toward the floor. This is Tadasana.
    7. As you inhale, sweep your arms out to the side and then up overhead, turning your arms so your palms face each other, fingertips reaching toward the ceiling. Straighten your arms completely, but do not lock the elbow joints.
    8. If your shoulders are tight, keep your arms as wide as your shoulders (or even wider). If you can keep your arms straight without drawing your shoulders up, press your palms together.
    9. Soften the tops of your shoulders away from your ears. Relax your shoulder blades down your back, toward your waist. Draw your lower, front ribs in — do not let these ribs push forward. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Keep your collarbones wide.
    10. Tilt your head back gently and gaze up at your thumbs.
    11. Maintain the alignment of Ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles in one line.
    12. Breathe smoothly and deeply. Imagine your breath is moving across the entire length of your body. Lift up through the sides of your waist as you inhale. Soften your shoulders as you exhale.
    13. Hold the pose for up to one minute. To release, exhale, and sweep the arms back down to the sides of the body.
Benefits
    • It stretches the sides of the body, spine, shoulders, armpits, and belly.
    • It tones the thighs, improves digestion, and helps to relieve anxiety and fatigue.
    • It also helps to create space in the chest and lungs, which is therapeutic for asthma and congestion.
    • This helps to protect the spinal muscles and nerves during other movements.

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend is a calming forward bend that stretches the hamstrings and back. There are several arm variations and other modifications available, making this a suitable pose for yoga students of all levels!

Benefits of Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend

It stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, calves, hips, low back, and spine. The various arm positions stretch your shoulders, wrists, forearms, and upper back. This pose has all of the benefits of both forward folds and inversions, including:

    • Relief from stress, anxiety, and mild depression
    • Relief from mild backaches
    • Opened hips
    • Relief from neck and shoulder tension
    • Toned abdominal organs
    • Improved digestion

This pose also quiets and soothes the nervous system. Additionally, it helps prepare the body and mind for deeper yoga poses and introspection.

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