In a previous post, I talked about the risks, what tends to go wrong, and the component parts of Urdhva Dhanurasana. Today I want to break down Urdhva Dhanurasana with some of my favorite poses that focus on preparing our upper back, chest, and shoulders. With that said, do you remember that I talked about the structure of the spine? Otherwise please read the post about how our vertebrae and the length of our spinous process will determine how much the spine can “bend”.
This means that Urdhva Dhanurasana is not a universal pose and will not be good for everyone. It is important to remember why, the reason for our yoga practice. With that said I do want to teach you how to safely move towards Urdhva Dhanurasana and teach you when to go future and when to stop. In this pose, we need to work on moving away from the areas at risk and find the places that need to work in order to bring balance to the body. As I said today we will focus on the shoulders, upper back, and chest.
The first picture is a more resting pose but I want you to still work on moving the upper back towards the chest. Place one block on the upper back by the bottom tip of your shoulder blades and the other for your head. Keep your legs together and feet flexed, keeping the heel on the ground and making your thighs heavy. Arms rest to the side and are halfway bent, draw your shoulder blades down the back and move them into the body having the sensation that you are moving away from the block and widening across your collarbone. Lay here x number of breaths
From the previous position bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor shoulder with apart. Press evenly through the entire palm and firm the outer arms in as you keep space across the chest. Move your elbows in the direction of your feet so the shoulder sits in the sockets as you keep widening across and creating a little lift of the chest. Stay here for x number of breaths
This asana should only be done if you don’t have any knee issues. You could also do this with your legs straight but then I recommend sitting on a blanket. The blocks are now placed on the highest level and the first block is between your shoulder blades just by the base of your neck (your neck should be free) the other block is for your head. Hold on to the outer edges of your mat and let your elbows stay wide and heavy. Draw your shoulder blades down the back and widen across your chest. Keep your hands close to the ground and softly pull the mat apart.
Because of the structure of your body, you might not reach and grab hold of the mat then you can hold a strap between your hands instead. Stay here and breathe.