Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Hang It Like A Ragdoll

Posted by terrepruitt on March 13, 2014

There is a move I do often at the end of my Nia Classes. I learned it as the Ragdoll Pose in yoga. Some say it is just a variation on the Uttanasana or the Forward Fold. Since it is a standing pose where you bend over I can see that. But the Forward Fold is a very active pose. You are using other muscles, you are actively lengthening your spine. Whereas in my classes, the move we do as the Ragdoll pose is just a hang. The idea is to hang, ya know, like a rag doll.

After all the movement we do in a cardio dance exercise class where moving your entire body is the key, it is nice to just hang around for a bit.  This pose made my list of favorite yoga poses but is not one of my sixteen favorites.  Kinda surprised me.

With the Ragdoll, as I said the idea is to hang like a rag doll folded over at the hips.  Your body goes limp.  Your arms can hang.  Your shoulders and hang.  Everything just hangs.  Legs can be straight or bent at the knee.  It is a relaxation pose so doing it to your optimum comfort is advised.  Let the weight of your head help lengthen and stretch your back and spine.  So you are not actively lengthening or straightening, it all comes from the weight of the head.  Even if you are resting you forearms on your thighs you are hanging.

One way that people do this pose is with the arms hanging overhead, but bent at the elbows.  The forearms are folded together allowing the hands to hold the opposite elbow.  This variation is just like the bent knees and/or the arms — or even hands — on the thighs, it is up to the individual at the time of the pose.

Bending over or doing an inverted pose is good for the systems in your body.  Such as the circulatory system, turning upside down helps blood flow which helps the respiratory system.  The lymphatic system is assisted by inversions which stimulates the body’s immune system.

It seems as if the body enjoys the break from the normal pull of gravity and it likes to be upside down every once in a while.  Calms the nerves, heightens the sense, and brings a little peace.  Only when done reasonably comfortable.  Poses should not be held if they cause pain or dizziness.  So when you are in any pose especially and inversion stay only as long as it is comfortable.

To me, the Ragdoll is one of those comfortable poses.  Usually just fold over and hanging.  But I do remember at least once when my neck was not aligned properly so the full on hang did not feel good, but bending my knees and resting on my thighs was the ticket.  Always remember that you do a pose for the moment you are in at the moment you are doing it.  So yesterday all the way down might have been the way, but maybe today it is not.  Do what your body wants in the moment.

Enjoy the weight of the head and the arms.  Let it stretch your spine and bring space into your back.  Hang as a rag doll would.

Do you like the Ragdoll pose?  Do you like inversions?  Which ones are your favorite?

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