Last week we looked at how to avoid dumping into the low back and destabilizing the SI joint in our pose of the month – Bow. For the next seven days our alignment focus moves up the torso, as we explore the heart-opening aspects of this backbendy asana.
Heart Opening in Bow Pose
Alignment Issue: Many of us find it hard to shake off the habitually hunched shape created by sitting at a desk all day. The upper back wants to round and the heads of the shoulders fall forwards, creating a concave shape across the chest which makes it extremely difficult to find the external rotation and flexibility necessary to open up the heart and reach for the ankles.
The Fix: Roll the shoulders back and down, away from the ears, and lengthen the neck. Try and get a sense of external rotation that starts where the arm bone plugs into the shoulder socket and travels all the way down to the wrists (those who find this range of motion accessible might even be able to achieve greater outward rotation and clasp the ankle from the inside with thumb pointing to the ceiling). Use the muscles of the back to peel your chest off the ground. Find expansiveness and lift through the heart space as you reach back with both hands to catch the ankles.