This simple warm-up posture comes from the Trinity Core Yoga program, and is ideal for warming up the spine, opening the chest, and deepening the breath. Try it to warm up before a yoga practice, after a long period of computer use to loosen the spine and release the chest, or after a workout to cool down and stretch.
Begin: Lie on your right side with a rolled blanket or brick under your head. Bring your knees forward with a slight bend so that there is a straight line from your heels to your hips to your head. Take your arms forward palm to palm.
Priority: keep your ankles and knees stacked – throughout the movement don’t let your knees drift – your shoulders will open, but your knees should stay together.
Exhale: compress your belly to prepare.
Inhale: Reach your top arm up to point to the sky, follow your fingers with your gaze.
Exhale: Start to take your top arm out to side to open your chest. Keep your knees stacked, gaze at the fingers, ensure the head prop is supporting the back of the head. Stay here for 3 breaths.
Inhale: Reach top arm up to point to the sky to unwind.
Exhale: return to start position.
Repeat two or three times, then switch sides.
Focus: spinal rotation, opening the ribs with the breath, stretching the chest while maintaining rib compression, and encouraging balanced breathing (left/right).
Taking Care: Don’t worry about getting your hand to the ground – the focus here is to rotate your spine and open your chest without your knees ‘unstacking’ or your back arching. Keep it easeful, breath deep, and enjoy the stretch.