We are slowly moving towards the border of Thailand, in another superb place called Hpa An. It reminds me very much of a place in India we visited called Hampi. Dazzling green mountains, the custom ear to ear warm smile off the Burmese people, along with jaw dropping caves sheltering you from the 40 degree heat.
Every few days we move, which usually includes a long bus/car journey along with a new place to sleep, which then means another new mattress for our spines to figure out. I obviously studied the spine a lot during my teacher training, but never had something explained so simply to me as by James’s parents. Your mattress is one of the most important things you can own as you spend up to half your life on it, and you should make sure you get the best you can afford. You rely on it both morning and eveing, and when you’re poorly, upset or exhausted. A lot of your life is actually spent on your matress and laid on your spine, so take care of it!
Ustrasana or camel pose a perfect asana to take care of your spine with variations from beginner through to advanced. Start on all fours, palms underneath shoulders, knees underneath hips. Gently bring the body up, while keeping knees, shins and backs of the feet on your mat. Keeping the left palm on the left thigh, inhale the right hand up and exhale it back to rest on the right heel. Bring the left hand up to the sky, keep the gaze straight up the left hand. Try to hold for at least five breaths. When you’re ready to release the pose, push down with the right hand and imagine someone is pulling your left hand forward, squeezing your stomach as you do this, until your body is upright. Rember to repeat on the oppsote side.
After repeating this on both sides maybe a few times, listen to your body. You can take the pose further by bringing both hands back to your heels. During this asana focus on pushing your hips forward rather than bending your spine. If you’re comfortable, gently lower your head back.
If you feel ready to try something a little more challenging, Urdhva Dhanurasana or wheel pose is lots of fun to play around with. Make sure you have a nice soft mat underneath you the first time you try. Mentally it made me feel much more secure whilst coming out of it.
Lay on your back bringing the heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Next, bring your hands back over your head onto the ground, elbows pointing away from your head. As you inhale push both your palms and feet down into the ground. Don’t force your body into anything, it’s fine for your arms to stay bent. Push your chest and hips up and take as many breaths as feels comfortable. Roll your spine gently back to the ground before hugging your knees to your chest and rocking back and forth, and side to side to give your spine a little well deserved massage. Today, I took my wheel pose a little deeper onto my forearms, with an added hamstring stretch.
Love me x