Next Level Yoga, Ltd.

Yoga designed to improve performance in sports & life.

Yoga for Firefighters, Shoulder Edition, Part 3- The Sequence

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In the final installment of Yoga for Firefighters, Shoulder Edition series, we will put together the poses from Parts 1 and 2 into a sequence.

First, get comfortable. Wear something that allows you to move freely, but not so loose that it falls over your head. Second, since you are going to be on the ground, I suggest you use a yoga mat. If you don’t have a mat, try a beach towel. You may want to consider a little extra padding for your knees, you can fold up a blanket or towel for this purpose.

And finally a word about music. There is a big debate in the yoga world about whether you should play music while doing/teaching yoga. I am on record as a big, fat YES. Maybe it’s just my mind being a bit too dark and twisty to be alone in, but I like a little distraction.

That being said, the classic, new age yoga music is not my thing. Instead, I use a wide mix of music for yoga, tunes that I like but are not too upbeat. I have found old Motown is the universally accepted genre, but use what you like.

Let’s start out with a brief warm up.  I like to use a simple vinyasa as a warm-up.  What’s that you say, a vin-what-sa? Vinyasa is a fancy yoga word for breathing and moving, all at the same time, it’s gets the circulation going and gives you a chance to practice a little deep breathing.

It’s quite easy, start out by standing with your hands down at your side.  With a big inhale, roll your palms up, thumbs back and lift your arms up over your head.  Pause.

Then with a big, exaggerated exhale, bend your knees, to protect the low back, and swan dive down over the legs to a forward fold. Get yourself a nice roll going at a comfortable pace, inhaling up exhaling down, and continue for a full minute.

Here are some forward fold pointers.

forward_fold_smforward_fold-good_sm

After this brief warm up, let’s start out by getting and holding the shoulders in proper alignment with Extended Mountain/Upward Salute for 5 long breaths.

The details of this pose, as well as, Reverse Tabletop and Spinal Balance are here: https://nextlevelyoga.net/2015/04/29/yoga-for-firefighters-shoulder-edition-part-2/

Extended Mountain Pose or Upward Salute

Extended Mountain Pose or Upward Salute

After Extended Mountain, let’s work on some strength in Reverse Tabletop. Take this pose two times for about 3-5 long breaths, with a 30 second rest.

Reverse Tabletop works the same as Upward Plank, it is a personal preference thing.

Reverse Tabletop works the same as Upward Plank, it is a personal preference thing.

After Reverse Tabletop, lets stretch out the back of the shoulder in Thread the Needle, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side (or 5-10 long breaths).  The details of this pose, as well as, Anterior Shoulder Opener and Puppy pose are here: https://nextlevelyoga.net/2015/04/26/yoga-for-firefighters-shoulder-edition-part-1/

Thread the Needle pose

Thread the Needle pose

Now let’s hit the deck and move into Anterior Shoulder Opener for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side (or 5-10 long breaths).

Anterior shoulder opener

Anterior shoulder opener

From here, push up to hands and knees, and move into Puppy pose for 30 seconds (5 breaths).

Puppy Pose.

Puppy Pose.

Finally, let’s finish this thing with a nice Supine Spinal twist for at least a minute per side.

Reclined Spinal Twist

Reclined Spinal Twist

For those of you who don’t need the visual, here is a list of the poses and times:

Warm up Swan Dive Vinyasa 1 minute

Extended Mountain/Upward Salute, 5 breaths

Reverse Tabletop, two sets 3-5 breaths each

Thread the Needle, 30 secs/1 min. each side (5-10 breaths)

Anterior Shoulder Opener, 30 sec/1 min. each side (5-10 breaths)

Puppy Pose, 30 seconds (3-5 breaths)

Supine Spinal Twist, 1 minute each side (10 breaths)

Total time- about 10 minutes

Give this a try a 3 or 4 times a week and see if you notice a difference in your shoulder health and performance.

If you are interested in trying an all-level yoga class, I have an open class which meets on Wednesday evenings at CPW Health Center, contact me for more information. Also, if you would like a live Yoga For Firefighters class, contact Lt. Joe Clark, or the Toledo Firefighters Health Plan and let them know you are interested.

Tara Kestner, RYT 200

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