Want a great stretch? Have a wall? Well then keep on reading to find out how this humble Yoga stretch can brighten your day!
Wall stretch – also referred to as Downward Dog at the Wall – is a stretch I would recommend someone do every day, no matter what kind of Yoga practice you do.
It has a multitude of benefits including:
- Easily Accessible to a large number of people
- Opens the shoulders and stretches the arms
- Mild to moderate hamstring stretch
- Targets the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar spine
- Relieves tension in the neck and shoulders
And did I mention that almost anyone can do this? Even if you have never done Yoga before and feel like the least flexible person alive - you can work with this amazing stretch. Keep reading to find out how to get in to this pose and make sure to view the slideshow at the end for some visual cues.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Step 1: Start standing very close to the wall with your hands placed approximately shoulder height (finger tips in line with tops of the shoulders). Spread the fingers and press the palms firmly into the wall.
Step 2: Keeping the hands pressing firmly into the wall, take a large step back while you fold forward from the hip creases. As you step back, bring your feet hip distance apart, with the toes pointing straight ahead.
Line the ankles up under the hips so you look like an upside down “L” against the wall.
Allow the head to rest in between the arms, being careful not to let it hang lower to avoid any straining into the neck.
Step 3: Stretch and Breathe
Stretch back through the hips as you lengthen the spine – no sway backs please!
Stretch forward through the arms as the hands are firmly planted in the wall, opening through the shoulders, into the chest, down the arms.
Depending on the tightness of your hamstrings you may feel like the backs of your legs are opening here as well.
Try staying here for 5 – 10 deep breaths
Step 4: Take a large step all the way forward coming back to the wall and resting your forehead into the wall for a few deep breaths.
Ready to go again? Try moving in to the pose exactly the same way BUT this time before you step back, lower your hands to the height of your rib cage, and then for the third round lower your hands to the height of your waist. Notice how this changes the sensation in your shoulders, chest, back and hamstrings.