Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Day 22 of 22: Standing Spinal Balance (Cross-Body Limb Extension)

Final day of the challenge and I tried to be creative with a unique twist on a plank hold: alternate arm and leg raises (shoulder extension rear hip extension). Often in a yoga class this movement "posture" is done on the hands and knees (table top). Whether horizontal or on an incline, the lifting of the arm, with hand in "handshake position" which creates a small external rotation to root the shoulder blade on the back, and moving the entire leg backwards and upwards against gravity uses the gluteus maximum and hamstrung muscles, with the lower back. Lifting the limbs simultaneously requires core activation to stabilize the body, and keep the arm and leg moving smoothly. Done slowly and mindfully it can even be used as a stretch for the back, the calf, the forearm, the obliques, and the neck, and more. 

I noticed in watching the video that I started to lose the straight alignment of my plank (I was slightly bent forward at the hip joint). It would behoove me to move closer to the chair, raise my hand support, and/or pull my hips slightly forward next time I practice this movement. It is important to not fling the arm and leg up and be sure to move with muscular stability rather than momentum to keep the joints, especially the lumbar vertabral joints, protected.

One set of movements consists of extending the Right Arm/Left Leg, then the Left Arm/Right Leg. I did eleven of these "sets" for twenty-two total movements.

My physical challenge commitment is complete, but I will be carrying the lessons learned, the creativity developed, and the spirit of supporting our veterans forward into our chair yoga classes. Watch videos at and you never know when you'll see us drop into another challenge and shout out to our #activeheroes. Thank you for your support!

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