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.
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.
Follow the instructions on this video. You’ll need a yoga strap or a belt to assist you into these deeper stretches.
This short sequence is the perfect post-travel release. Not only does it help to lengthen your back and free your ankle joints, it also helps to drain fluid from your legs and get the blood flowing again.
To begin, lie on your back and lift your legs up in the air. If you feel too much pressure on your core, keep your knees bent. As you inhale, point through your toes. As you exhale, flex your feet. Continue 5-10 times. The next time you point your toes, keep them pointed and circle your toes around (like a conductor) for 5-10 rounds, and then circle them the other direction. Your ankles might click. Don’t panic unless it’s painful. The movement helps to get the synovial fluid moving in your joints which helps with range or motion and joint health.
Your joints will be happy!
Tuneful Tuesday Week 51: What A Wonderful World
This is one of my favorite pieces. Who wouldn’t love the joy and peace of this happy little song?
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a cute Irish lullaby. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. 🍀
Here’s a review of an Indian herb and spice jam which is helping me to recover from a sinus infection and laryngitis at a rapid pace.
Though Valentine’s Day is long gone, I’m still celebrating the month of love. ❤️
Out of all the composers in the world, George Gershwin is my all-time favorite. His ability to straddle both the classical and jazz genres, his flawless melodic lines and catchy tunes, and his perfectly timed phrasing make his music a pleasure to sing.
This shoulder opener is amazing and one of the best parts is you can do it in your car on the way to an audition or while sitting in the green room waiting to go on. It’s also the perfect post-travel stretch.
To begin, interlace your fingers, straighten your arms, and reach them overhead. Then, bending through your elbows, bring your arms to the right side which will form a bit of a rectangle through the arms. Then take your hands behind your head and move over towards the left side. Straighten the arms up towards the ceiling and continue in a circular motion several times. Then reverse directions for the same number of times.
If this variation is too intense, make a softer circle around your head… more like a halo. Keep the elbows bent rather than extending your arms and make small circles around your head.
Enjoy the burn!