How to Make the Best Back Stretch Even Better

How to Make the Best Back Stretch Even BetterIf you always shy away when your yoga teacher calls out Plow Pose, it’s time to start welcoming this asana into your life. This big neck-, back-, and shoulder-opening posture can do amazing things for a tight body — especially folks who sit behind a desk all day!

With that said, Plow Pose can feel a little awkward if you’re not sure how to roll into it. Take these tips to protect your body and save yourself any unnecessary embarrassment.

Support your shoulders: Setting things up with appropriate props offers your body helpful support. Regardless of your level, stack a few (one to three) folded blankets beneath your shoulders before rolling up into Plow Pose. Be sure that your head and neck are off the blanket so you don’t put unnecessary pressure on the precious vertebral column.

Don’t forget to breathe: You might be worried when Plow Pose rolls around in your class, but do your best to just keep on breathing. If you’re a larger-chested lady or your shoulders are incredibly tight, Plow Pose might feel like it’s trying to stop you from breathing. Don’t fret or give up! Just be sure to set up on those blankets to give your chest a little extra breathing room.

Don’t stress about your feet: If you’re brand-new to yoga, your body might not be ready to shoot into the full expression of Plow Pose; when you roll backwards and swing your legs over your head, tight hamstrings might not allow your feet to reach the ground. If you can relate, set up the scene with a chair! Pull your mat toward the wall and set up your chair against the wall. When you roll your hips over your shoulders back into Plow Pose, focus on resting your legs on the chair instead of forcing them to touch the ground. Gradually, over time, your body will begin open up and this pose will actually feel quite comfortable.

Externally rotate arms: If you always feel like you’re going to shoot back into a somersault when you’re rolling into Plow Pose, focus on rooting your arm muscles into the ground before you get ready to roll. Once you’re lying on your back, place your arms by your sides, palms facing down, and focus on the external rotation of your arm muscles. After you’ve rolled back into your version of Plow Pose, interlace your fingers, so you can shift your shoulder blades closer together — much like Shoulderstand. Now you’ve set up a solid foundation, and you won’t feel like you’re going to tilt over or hit your next-door neighbor on their mat!

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