The Mountain

Complete Shoulder and Hip Blueprint

Exercise Your Shoulder Pain-free

Get Instant Access

The Mountain is based on a traditional yoga master pose (meaning it affects every system in your body). It's a warm-up exercise that loosens and relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck. It opens up your chest, back, and spine for vitality, and for these reasons, it's good for your posture. The exercise also establishes a foundation so you can focus on concentration and is wonderful for developing balance and coordination.

Grab your hand weights before you climb the Mountain. When you're ready to go, follow these steps:

Stand with your legs as far apart as your hips and your toes pointing straight ahead, and let the hand weights dangle at your sides with your palms facing backward (see Figure 7-1a).

This is the starting position. Look straight ahead with your chin neither lifted nor lowered.

As you inhale to a count of four, step forward with your right leg and lift the weights above your shoulders (see Figure 7-1b).

Keep your arms straight and raise them directly above your shoulders. Draw your belly in and up and your tailbone down for support. Focus on how you distribute your body weight as you step forward.

If you feel any pinching in your shoulders or neck, you can lift the weights halfway up, perpendicular to your body.

As you lift, the heel of your back foot may leave the floor, but keep the ball of your foot planted (see Figure 7-1b). Concentrate on your breathing and alignment during the lift. Make sure your breathing is steady and even. Don't shrug your shoulders.

As you exhale to a count of four, lower your arms and step back into the starting position (see Figure 7-1a).

Lower the weight in time to your breathing. Don't look up or look down — gaze straight ahead.

Alternating legs, repeat this exercise six to eight times with each leg. Pause to rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions with each leg.

Figure 7-1:

Mountain is a head-to-toe exercise that loosens your body.

Figure 7-1:

Mountain is a head-to-toe exercise that loosens your body.

Heaven and Earth

This exercise is called Heaven and Earth because you reach to the sky and root to the earth at the same time. It stretches the side of your body and brings oxygen to your back and spine; it helps you warm up and focus on your breathing; and it gets the energy flowing through your body.

Grab your hand weights and follow these steps to reach for the heavens:

1. Stand with your legs as far apart as your hips and your toes pointing straight ahead, and let the hand weights dangle at your sides with your palms facing inward (see Figure 7-2a).

This is the starting position.

2. Inhaling to a count to four, extend the weight in your right hand forward and then above your right shoulder, following the weight with your eyes (see Figure 7-2b).

Stretch out your arm and shoulder as much as possible without lifting your heels off the ground, and press your right foot into the ground as you look to the sky. You should finish inhaling as the weight reaches its peak. Feel your hip and the side of your body stretch as you lift the weight.

Figure 7-2:

Heaven and Earth invigorates your body and helps you breathe.

Figure 7-2:

Heaven and Earth invigorates your body and helps you breathe.

If your neck feels too tight, look toward your elbow; in other words, look as high as you comfortably can. If your shoulders are tight, practice this exercise without a weight or raise the weight halfway.

3. Exhaling to a count of four, lower the weight back to your side and return to the starting position (see Figure 7-2a).

Keep your feet squarely on the floor throughout this exercise. Don't throw the weight — gently lift it. Focus on your breathing so that you have smooth transitions as you inhale (when you lift the weight) and exhale (when you lower the weight). Try to time your breathing so that you never hold your breath. Your breathing helps you relax and do the stretching portion of this exercise.

Repeat this exercise six to eight times with each arm, pause to rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions with each arm.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment