Unsure about the Bowspring alignment system? Tried it once and left the class confused and sore?
Practice these 3 simple Bowspring postures at home to build a stronger spine, longer & stronger core and lighter movement patterns into your posture:
1 – All 4’s
Start on your hands and knees, and place your knees slightly behind and wider than your hips, with an option blanket below your knees to support yourself.
Place your hands slightly wider and slightly forward from your shoulders, soften your fingers while doming at the center of your palm. Rotate your elbows outward.
Bow your head down and fill your upper back with breath, then protract (push out) your shoulder blades away from your spine and up towards your ears (visualize a “V” shape of the shoulder blades moving up and away from your middle back.
Keeping your back heart full, push the tops of your feet down (where your shoelaces go) and drag them towards your knees in order to tip your tailbone up and back. As you do this, press your groins back until they are hallow, and until your belly feels long, curvy, strong and supportive.
Lift your head until the curve you have created in your low back is similar to that of your neck. Eyes will look towards the front of your yoga mat.
Relax your jaw by slightly parting your teeth.
Press your pelvis back and tailbone up, keep the back heart full, and press the crown of your head forward and up. Pulse back and forth emphasizing heart, hips and head wide and moving directionally away from each other to elongate both the belly and the neck.
Due to many previously taught alignment systems that shorten the belly and pinch our shoulders back, this exercise will demand a lot of your focus, since you are basically doing the opposite of your pattern. Be sure to minimize distractions as you practice Bowspring and stay focused on the alignment system. Listen to your body while you practice, and if anything doesn’t feel right or is painful, back off accordingly until your body awareness increases and your movement patterns can be felt, observed, and re-patterned towards movement that is lighter and brighter!
Challenge Pose: Crouching Cat
Take it up a notch by lifting your knees while applying all the same principles above.
2 – Wide-legged Forward Bend
Stand with your feet wider than your yoga mat, or if you don’t have a mat, stand with your legs wide enough apart to open your pelvis while maintaining a sense of stability in your balance.
Bend your knees deeply.
Place your finger tips on the floor with ALL your knuckles bent, so that even your finger nails connect lightly with the earth. Dome the center of your palm to engage all of the muscles of your arms up into your shoulders.
Fill the back of your heart and broaden your shoulder girdle.
Similarly fill your pelvis by widening your hips, lift and mound your gluteal muscles up toward your sacrum, and tip your tailbone up and back.
Stretch your throat open by elongating your neck, pressing your crown forward and up.
Hold your front body open while your back body engages, using your fingers to intensify the stretch of your heart forward while pressing your hips backwards to deeply stretch your belly long and strong.
3 – Earth Pose
Stand with your feet as wide as your hips.
Bend your knees slightly.
Press your straight arms forward and press your elbows outward to fill the back of your heart with breath and space. This is called “Radiant Heart”: a heart that opens in all directions.
Press your groins back and down, mound your gluteal muscles up towards your sacrum and tip your tailbone up and back, while lifting your Radiant heart in opposition. This will stretch and lengthen your low back.
Lift your chin so the stretch in your belly is matched by the stretch in your throat.
Gaze at the horizon to calm your energy.
Press down with your big toes.
Optional challenge – lift your heels slightly off the floor to test your Bowspring integrity. This tests the efficacy of your ability to hold yourself steady in your back body while maintaining open and soft in the front.
Want more? Yeah you do!! Come take a Bowspring class with us, and we’ll share with you this amazingly powerful method of movement on your yoga mat!