Like humans, animals come in all shapes and sizes – and they also love a good stretch! We hope you enjoy these adorable illustrations of the newest addition to the Yogaia team, Yoga Fox, showing us some of his favourite shoulder opening yoga poses.
You’ve probably noticed that there are quite a few yoga poses named after our friends from the animal kingdom. From Downward-Facing Dog to Puppy Pose, Lions Breath to Pigeon, Cat Pose to Cow Pose, and countless others. The truth is, the diversity of animals has inspired yogis to move in ways that not only help us stretch and strengthen our bodies, but also feel more grounded and connected with the world around us all – and with all who call it home.
It’s International Day of Yoga on Wednesday 21 June, and to celebrate we’re giving away 3 days of FREE access to all our live and recorded classes from 19-21 June! Access your special code from Monday 19th June here.
SHOULDER OPENING POSES WITH YOGA FOX
1. Puppy Dog Pose or Heart Chakra Pose (Sanskrit: Anahatasana)
- From a four-point kneeling position, reach your arms as far forward on the mat as possible.
- Lower your chest and forehead towards the floor, keeping your hips directly over your knees. Turn the sit bones upwards
- Inhale and extend your arms and chest forward. Exhale and let your chest sink down to stretch the middle back even more.
- If your neck is healthy and your shoulders and thoracic spine are open, bring your chin to the floor and gave forward, always ensuring there is no compression in your neck.
- To release, inhale and bring your palms under your shoulders to press back up to kneeling.
2. Humble Warrior
- Beginning in Warrior 1, ensure your front knee is bent and stacked over your ankle. Your back leg is straight and strong and your back foot is at a 45-degree angle, with the knife-edge of your foot firmly planted into your mat.
- Interlace your fingers behind your back and broaden your collarbones.
- Begin to lower your chest down on the inside of your front leg, keeping your knee stacked over your ankle.
- Keep your shoulders and hips square and draw your belly into your spine. Relax your neck and head.
- To release, slowly rise back up to Warrior 1, slowly releasing your hands and raising them gently overhead.
3. Warrior 2 (Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana 2)
- From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward to your right hand into a low lunge. Turn the back foot out to a 90-degree angle, ground your foot flat on the floor. Make sure both heels are on the same line.
- Draw your lower belly towards your spine. Press down through both feet and raise your torso to an upright position as you inhale.
- Inhale the arms to shoulder height with palms facing the floor. Gaze towards your the middle finger on your front hand.
- Keeping your back foot flat on the floor and externally rotate your thighs to open the groin.
- Lengthen your side ribs away from your hips, and keep your upper shoulder muscles relaxed and your spine long.
4. Eagle Arms in Crescent
- From Downward Dog, step the right foot forward to your right hand.
- Draw your lower belly to your spine and press down through both feet as you inhale to raise your torso above your hips, raising your arms overhead.
- Keep your right knee bent to it is directly over the ankle and your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Energise your back leg by lifting your thigh and heels towards the sky. Lengthen your tailbone to stretch the hip flexors. Bend your back knee if necessary to lengthen the spine and maintain a neutral pelvis.
- For Eagle Arms, as you exhale wrap the right arm under the left while bending the elbow and bring the palms together. Gently lift your elbows to shoulder level while drawing your shoulders back and down.
- To release, exhale and slowly unwrap the arms, and inhale to lift them overhead for the full expression of Crescent lunge.
- As you exhale, lower your hands to the floor and step back to Plank or Downward Dog.
5. Aeroplane Pose (Sanskrit: Dekasana)
- Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your hands on your hips. Step the right foot forward and shift your body weight into the right leg.
- Inhale and draw your lower belly towards your spine and lift the side ribs away from your hips.
- As you exhale, slowly hinge at the hips and lower your torso down towards the floor while raising your left leg to hip level. Sweep your arms back alongside your body with your palms facing down and thumbs up.
- Keep your torso and back leg parallel to the floor while raising your chest slightly higher than the hips.
- Extend through your left toes and the crown of the head, rolling your shoulders back and down. Keep your right leg and core active. Shift your gaze forward and keep the chest open and lifted.
- To release, inhale and lift the torso, coming back to Tadasana.
Ready to join us on the mat?
Try us now to access free yoga classes. Anytime, anywhere.