Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Upward Salute

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2013

As with all workouts, it is important to warm up before beginning.  In a Nia class our warm up is one or two songs.  When I was young and was first learning to exercise the way to warm up was to perform a series of static stretches.  Science has proved that static stretching can actually increase relaxation and in a sense put your muscles to sleep.  Research has now shown that the best type of warm up is to actually prepare your body for the activity it is about to do.  So moving in a slower and more gentle way that you will be moving in the activity you are preparing for is a great way to actually warm up the muscles.  Walking and/or a slow jog is always a great way to warm up the entire body — depending upon the planned workout.  For a yoga practice a warmup could include moving the muscles that you will be using as you do the sequence of poses in your practice for the day.  It is important to warm up the muscles before you put them into a full on stretch or expect them to hold you in a pose.  A warmed muscle moves more easily and can stretch better than a “cold” muscle.  In the beginning of our classes we often do an Upward Salute.  I think it is a great way to start the warming up process.

The Upward Salute is sometimes called Extended Mountain Pose / Mountain Pose with Upward Stretch / Mountain Pose with Arms Overhead.  The basis of the pose is the Mountain Pose.  To do this pose first position your body in the mountain pose.

Summary of Mountain Pose: Toes touch and feet are parallel sense a stable base.  Distribute the weight over the entire foot – both feet.  Your legs are active and rooting you to the earth.  The abdominals are engaged.  The crown of your head is reaching up creating a long spine.  Your muscles are active.  Once you are comfortable in the Mountain Pose (for more details about the pose click here) turn your palms out and raise your arms up in a sweeping motion.  Allow your arms to reach over the top of your head.  Your palms come together.  You gently look up.

If it is not comfortable to look up then keep your gaze forward.  If it is not comfortable for you to bring your palms together then keep them apart, but facing each other.  No matter if you are looking up or your palms are touching your shoulders are down. There is space between your shoulders and your ears.  You have the idea of your shoulder blades sliding down into your back pockets.  Allow the energy to flow down your arms, through your shoulders, through your back and your spine.  Let it travel through your legs.  Enjoy this nice stretch.  Let it warm your entire body.

Staying here in this pose is a great warm up.  If you would like more of a stretch and warm up for the back allow yourself to bend backwards.  With this pose as a warm up the backbend is not deep.  Your shoulders remain back and down even though you move your head tilts back while your gaze is up.  Remain in this pose for a few breaths.  Then move into Mountain and repeat several times.

Now, I am aware that many people have back issues either with their actually back bone, or their spinal cord, or the nerves, so these poses are to be done with the utmost caution.  Keep in mind your OWN back situation and do only what is good for your own body.  It could be that your body gets the stretch it needs by just standing in Mountain Pose with your arms raised and your gaze looking slightly up . . . that is fine.  If that is a stretch for your back, then stay there and enjoy it.  Yoga is not about competing.  It is about doing what your body can do.  Then as you do what your body can do there is a possibility that it will be able to do more.  But there is no rush.  Yoga is a practice.  Enjoy the journey.  This is a wonderful pose to stretch and warm up the body.  And, of course it can also be done at the end of the session in the cool down when getting ready for Savasana.

Do you practice this gentle backbend?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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