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extended cat and knee circles

by April 3, 2012

Tip: Combine this exercise with the elbow to knee warm up!

Tabletop pose is a great base pose to help you transition into other hands-and-knees poses. From Tabletop, we’ll go into two exercises that strengthen and lengthen your lower back, your arms, your abs and your legs. These movements are also good breathing exercises.

You might want to start by performing a few cycles of Cat and Cow to limber and stretch your back, shoulders and neck. These exercises are perfect to create a moving series with Cat and Cow.

After Cat and Cow, simply go back to the neutral Tabletop position. Your wrists should be under your shoulders, your knees should be under your hips and your knees should be hip width apart. Also, do not tuck your toes under. In Tabletop, you’ll keep your gaze looking at the floor. During these exercises, keep your hips facing the floor. Keep your abs stable and use them to perform these movements.

Extended Cat and Knee Circles

From Tabletop, you’ll go into Extended Cat. Breathe out as you slowly curl your back and bring your forehead down and your right knee forward and up, bringing your knee and forehead toward each other. You don’t have to make them touch, but simply bring them as close together as is comfortable.

Then, breathe in as you bring your head, neck and chest up and forward and, at the same time, extend your right leg straight back and up so it is parallel to the floor. Try not to crunch your neck, but instead elongate it as you bring it up. Go back and forth between the two poses slowly, doing about three to six repetitions.

Come back into Tabletop and then you’ll perform knee circles. Keeping your knee bent, hinge your right leg up to the right so your inner thigh is parallel to the floor. Your foot should be flexed. Hold your knee up and move it in counterclockwise circles about 10 times, then pause and move it in clockwise circles about 10 more times. Look toward your knee while performing these and remember to breathe during the exercise.

Then, straighten your right leg and extend it straight out to the side of your body; swing it toward the back of the room and hold it straight out behind you for a moment. Then bring it down so you’re back in Tabletop pose. From here, you can take a break in Child’s Pose or Extended Child’s Pose before you come back to Tabletop and switch to the left side.

Benefits:

Stretches and strengthens lower back, shoulders and neck
Strengthens arms and wrists
Strengthens and stretches legs
Strengthens inner and outer thighs, buttocks and abs
Opens hips

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