Many times I have taught a class and have asked my dear students to point to their elbows in preparation of the next pose or motion, only to see them pointing to their bicep, shoulder or wrist (or more delightfully, their ear). Hmmm. Instead of correcting them and quickly moving on I like to take a moment and talk about the elbow. Where it is, what it's connected to, and what it does for us.
I present this week's focus, it is the exciting, the wonderful, the multifaceted: ELBOW
Imagine going through our daily lives with Barbie or Ken arms, straight and stiff, with no range of motion. Forget bouncing a ball or eating that bowl of morning cereal, stiff arms would equal some real weird movements. This is why the Elbow is an important friend of the body.
Let's look at some ways we use our elbows to move our arms:
Bend the elbows to bring the hands to the shoulders, use the hands to touch the opposite elbow, and the elbows to make circles like you are jumping rope.
The elbows are very bendy, but they can also help us to have strong straight sturdy arms as well.
Lets do some yoga postures together that are Elbow-centric:
Starting in Table Top, knees bent on the ground, hands below the shoulders, straight strong back
Tuck your toes, begin to straighten the legs behind you, send the hips up and back, arms straight, fingers open wide, and find Downward Facing Dog, take a breath
From Down Dog keep the legs straight, arms under the shoulders, roll forward gently into Plank Pose
Bend the elbows, lower the body, and the knees if you need to, down to the ground, tops of legs and belly down on the ground
Hands on the ground, under your shoulders, gently lift the chest off the ground, leaving your hips and legs touching the ground into Cobra Pose, and lower your body down
Push up with the hands and arms, belly and hips come off the ground, toes tucked behind you, find Plank Pose, take a breath in Plank Pose, and lift the hips up and back to Downward Facing Dog
From your Down Dog bend the knees, untuck the toes, lower the hips back to the heels of the feet, leaving your hands on the ground with arms stretched out in front of you, rest the forehead on the ground, now we are in Child's Pose
From your child's pose walk the hands back to the knees and straighten the back as you sit onto the heels of your feet, now we are in Hero's Pose
Bend the left elbow, your upper arm is next to your ear, the left hand is behind you at your neck, place your right hand on the left elbow to help with a shoulder stretch, unwind and do the other arm
Arms come down by your thighs, bring the legs around to one side in front of you and find criss cross applesauce or Easy Sitting Pose
From Easy Sitting Pose, place the hands on the knees and take a good breath
Untuck the legs from under you, keep the knees bent, feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your back, fingers pointing towards your toes
Push into your hands and lift your bottom and hips up off the floor, we are now in Crab Pose, lift up on leg and then the other. Put both legs back on the ground hold that Crab Pose with strong straight arms and elbows. Lower the bottom to the floor nice and slow
Sitting on the floor, stretch the legs out in front of you in Staff Pose.
Bring the legs around to the side and behind you, lower the hips so you are sitting on the heels of the feet in our Hero's Pose again
Walk the hands out in front of you until you find Table Top, tuck the toes under, lift the hips back behind you, strong straight arms and find Down Dog
For the rest of this kids yoga sequence, please visit my blog here: