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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tip of the Week: Keep Wrists Straight in Pranayama Breathing

Pranayama Breathing is the first breathing exercise we do as we begin class to expand the lungs, stimulate circulation, and wake up the muscles and the entire body. 

Our tip this week comes from our teacher Sara to remember to keep our wrists straight, especially on the inhale. On the inhale we lift our elbows out to the sides until they stretch up to the sides of our head, allowing our forearms and back of the palms to naturally frame our face. In trying to frame the face, sometimes students will bend the wrists to keep the hands close to the face. This actually keeps the shoulders and fingers tight, and makes it harder to lift the elbows to the ceiling. Many people think that in order to eventually have your forearms touching the sides of your head, it's all about the flexibility in your shoulders. But the key is actually in having flexibility in your fingers as well. By keeping the wrists straight, your fingers are able to flex more, as well as your shoulders being able to open up more. 

In the photo on the left, Sara has her wrists bent, making it difficult to flex her fingers, open her shoulders and lift her elbows. In the photo on the right, her wrists are straight making it easier to lift her elbows with the backs of her palms and arms framing her face.

Even if you are unable to lift your elbows very far, always keep your wrists straight. Over time you will gain more flexibility to be able to bring them up higher. 

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