When you’re moving through a Sun Salutation, you can be moving at a pretty fast pace. That’s why it’s really important to be particularly present and mindful of your movement during these times. One of the biggest areas for potential injury in a yoga class are when you’re lowering from Plank to your stomach for Cobra or Upward facing dog. Here’s how to lower on to your stomach in yoga so that you don’t injury your shoulders or chest muscles.
How to Lower on to your Stomach
- In your Sun Salutation, you will be in Plank pose.
- Make sure that your hands are just slightly wider than your chest.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine.
- Shift your weight forward so that your shoulders move just past your wrists.
- As you exhale, lower your chin, then your chest, then your hips. Feel the inner part of your elbows brush the sides of your rib cage as you lower.
- Once you are on the ground, your hands should be right beside your chest. Feel how this helps your shoulder blades hug toward each other on your back.
- Uncurl your toes so that the tops of your feet are flat on the mat.
- Now, you are ready to move in to Cobra pose or Upward facing dog pose.
There are a couple of areas where people make mistakes when lowering to the ground. The first mistake is that people don’t shift their weight forward. When you don’t shift forward, you will probably end up with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. This is the wrong position for you to move in to Cobra or Upward facing dog, and it could cause muscle strain if you lower in this position.
The second common mistake is that people try to lower while keeping a flat back. Although it’s possible to lower straight down and keep a flat back, that’s not really what this move is about. Basically, you’re preparing your body for the following heart-opening pose by lowering chin, chest, hips. When you don’t lower down this way, you increase your chances of getting injured in your Cobra or Upward facing dog.
How do I know that these are common mistakes? Because they were mistakes that I made when I first started practicing yoga. It wasn’t until my teacher taught me how to lower correctly that I really noticed what a difference this small movement makes on the body’s ability and ease to complete this sequence.
Video of How to Lower on to your Stomach
Here is a video for visual learners.
Hey, yogis! Have you learned to lower down a different way? Share your tips with us in the comments below.
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