Volume 5 Issue 3

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Abby's Magazine - Volume 5 Issue 3 | Page 21 Child's Pose This aptly named yoga pose (called balasana in Sanskrit) is a good way for kids to begin and/or end a stretching session. It's very relaxing! Kneel with toes touching and knees spread apart. (Some people prefer to keep knees together. Try both ways to see which is more comfortable.) Slowly bend over and touch the forehead to the ground. Arms can be at the sides, palms facing up, or extended in front of the head with palms on the floor. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply; hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Cat-Cow This yoga-influenced stretch is good for the spine and also strengthens the abdominal muscles. Start on all fours with the spine and neck in a neutral position. The back should be flat like a tabletop. Eyes should look straight down to the ground. Inhale, drop the belly down and slowly lift the neck and head up. This is the cow half of the pose— picture a cow's swayed back with bony hips. Next, on an exhale, lift the belly and spine so the back is arched like a cat's. Eyes look toward the bellybutton. Alternate 5 to 10 cat-cow stretches, then return to the neutral hands-and-knees position. Overhead Arm Stretch This simple, yet effective stretch works the upper body, shoulders, and arms. Stand up straight with feet together. With back straight, reach arms straight up and overhead, without locking elbows. Hands can be touching or apart. You can also do a very gentle back bend here. If you choose to bend backwards, keep chin and neck lifted. Arms Wide This exercise works the arm and shoulder muscles. Stand with arms outstretched and thumbs pointing down. Gently push arms back as if squeezing a ball between the shoulder blades. Alternatively, slowly rotate the arms so that thumbs are pointing up. Hold; then rotate back to the first position. Hold again, gently squeezing arms back. Repeat a few times, always moving slowly. Shoulder Stretch Reach the right arm straight out in front of you. Bend the left arm and put the left wrist on the back of the right arm, just above the elbow. Your left palm will be facing to the side. Use the left arm to gently press the right arm across your body until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Switch arms and repeat. Tricep Stretch This stretch works the muscle on the back of the upper arm. Raise the right arm up overhead, palm facing in towards your head. Then bend the elbow so your fingers touch, or reach toward, the middle of your upper back. Grab the right elbow with the left hand and gently pull back until you feel the stretch in the right tricep. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Then switch arms and repeat. Knee Lunge This may seem like a leg stretch, but it actually works the muscles in the groin. Start by kneeling on a mat or soft surface. Keeping your back straight, place your left foot on the ground and gently press forward until the knee is bent at a 90-degree angle (knee directly over the ankle). This stretches the left hip and groin.

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