Fitness Friday Week 38: Anahatasana/Deep Heart Opener

This is one of my favorite short sequences to help open up the heart and shoulders and add flexibility to the spine. I always drop onto the floor and do a few sets of this after traveling.

Start of in table top on your hands and knees. Do a few cat/cows, inhaling as you lift your tailbone and your chest and exhaling as you round your back, lifting up between your shoulder blades.

Then, keeping your hips directly over your knees, begin to sink your chest down towards the floor walking your hands away but keeping your arms straight. You might hover there, hanging your chest like a suspension bridge. If flexibility permits, you can rest your forehead or chest to the floor. Hold this for several breaths. Then, press into your hands engaging your core to rise back up. Finish with a child’s pose taking your big toes together and your knees apart. Bring your hips back towards your heels and rest your head to the floor.

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Fitness Friday Week 36: Utkatasana/Chair Pose

Chair Pose is a great position to sing in so as to build vocal strength. I use this with my students all the time when they are disconnected from their lower body while singing. To begin, start with your feet hip distance apart and bend your knees keeping strength through your inner thighs. Keep your weight in your heels rather than in your toes. See how low you can go while still keeping a straight spine and a strong lift of your rib cage.

Fitness Friday Week 34: Beginning a Handstand Practice

Recently, one of the followers on my yoga for singers page asked me how to begin a handstand practice. In this video, I go through a few steps to get you into a handstand practice. Please take your time and move through the steps slowly without pushing yourself. It sometimes takes months or even years to build up the strength and balance to get into a full handstand. However, you can build a lot of strength simply by doing this prep work.

To begin: start in downward facing dog. Ground through your hands pressing into your finger pads, spreading your fingers, and suctioning through the center of your palms. Then raise one leg in the air while bending the other and start to kick up with the bent leg. Play around with kicking up both legs. Do several sets of these leg kicks and then rest. You might simply practice this for a few months.

Eventually, start kicking up near a wall and try to kick your straight leg up to that wall, bringing your other leg up as well. You can play with strengthening your arms in this wall-supported handstand.

If you want to branch out to playing in an unsupported handstand, bring one leg off the wall reaching straight up through the ball of your foot and stacking the ankle directly over the hip. Then, bend through the other leg placing the toes of the bent leg against the wall and play with floating those toes away from the wall for a few seconds before returning them.

Soon, you’ll be lifting both feet away from the wall.

Happy handstanding!

Fitness Friday Week 31: Leg Day

Legs steal the show of this week’s Fitness Friday video…. partly because this is a series of supine leg stretches, but also partly because I put my camera in the wrong place and you can’t see anything but my legs.

Put your back down on the ground and enjoy the great slow holds of this winding-down practice. It’s perfect as a pre-performance calming sequence or a post-performance cool down to help settle down the adrenaline.