Thursday, March 20, 2014

Start Where You Are: Day 2, Table Pose, With Cat/Cow Variation

Ready for Day 2 of Start Where You are? Before you begin, if you have any discomfort in your knees or wrists, you will want to have a folded blanket handy to provide a little cushioning while we move through this pose.

Table Pose

After you've done a little grounding in easy pose, swing your hips over to one side, and come on to hands and knees in table pose.

Your alignment: knees should be directly under the hips, wrists under the shoulders, and just scoop your tailbone under a bit so that you don't have a sway back. Imagine a nice, long line of energy running from your tailbone all the way out through the crown of your head. Your neck should be neutral, so your gaze will be down a few inches in front of your finger tips.

Check in with your hands and fingers - spread your fingers wide, really press down through the pads of your fingers.

See if you can feel your weight distributed evenly between all four limbs. Take a peek back between your legs and make sure that you can't see your feet - they should be hidden behind your legs.

Take a few breaths here, and feel grounded.


If your knees are sore or ouchy, you can use a blanket for more cushioning under your knees. If your wrists protest when you plant them on the ground or on your mat, make loose fists with your hands, and rest on those.

When you're ready, you can start warming up the spine by moving through some cat/cow rolls.

Cat/Cow Rolls

Once you're nice and stable and grounded in your table pose, begin to warm up the spine with some gentle movements that are linked to your breath. This is one of my favorite warm-ups, and no yoga practice feels complete to me without a few of these.

On the inhale: let your middle back drop, raise your sit bones to the sky, and draw your heart through your arms. Be careful here not to scrunch your neck too much - allow the movement of your head to come from the movement of the spine.

On the exhale: round your back, pushing down into the floor, allow your head to drop down so that you try to look at your navel.

Move back and forth through these motions, matching the pace of your movements to the flow of your breath.

Remember, if you feel pain (more than just discomfort) in any of these, stop what you're doing and rest. Yoga should not hurt!

When you're finished, you can move on to other poses, or you can simply sit in meditation again for a few minutes before moving on with your day.

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