Gentle yoga warm up for tension relief
Massaging your inner organ with this rock and row warm up soothes everything from back muscle tension and headaches to cramps and insomnia.
Physicians often recommend yoga because it offers a direct address of the body’s perceptual system, leading to health supporting sensations of calm and integration.
Compression and release equal relief
Rocking side to side on your back compresses and releases the nerves of your peripheral nervous system as those nerves branch out from your spine to your arms and legs. This self massage is both pleasantly soothing and releases muscular tension; additionally the relaxation attained this way alters your neurological and blood chemistry, lowering stress and reactivity.
Rowing the legs releases the psoas muscle from its stress-induced semi contracted state; it also massages the hip joint where the head of the femur enters the pelvis, and moves lymph in the inguinal lymph nodes at the groin and throughout the lymphatic system, improving immune system response. Lymph is interstitial fluid which also provides the cells of the body with nutrients and a means of waste removal.
Practice Tip As you are rocking, take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for a moment, then open your mouth and sigh. Do this two or three times to clear your thoughts, let go of subtle tension, and refresh your blood with oxygen.
Text of the Video Lie on your back and tuck your knees in. Hold on to your knees or shins or interlace your fingers around them. Rock from side to side slowly, experimenting with how far to each side you want to rock based on what feels good.
After a minute or two, put one hand on each knee. Circle your knees out away from each other and then in toward each other again, as though you were rowing a boat. Let your shoulders move. one direction often feels better than the other, based on the shape of your hip and leg bones. so change directions if you want to. Make the circles slowly and let them be big or small, again based on what feels good.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.