Dive into Dolphin Pose in order to build strength in the arms, shoulders, and in the upper back. Dolphin Pose is considered an inversion, where the heart rests below the head. Inversions help to bring fresh blood to the brain, and they help to build strength and stability while literally turning our world upside down. In Dolphin Pose, we access our inner strength, practice determination, and focus on the breath to find a balance of ease and effort.
Take an inhale breath to prepare. Exhale, and begin to straighten the legs and press the knees and hips upwards, towards the ceiling. Draw the shoulder blades down the back and spread the space in between the shoulders blades wide, in order to open the upper back. Press the chest back towards the thighs. Bend the knees to allow the backs of the thighs to open, and breathe, creating long and smooth inhales and exhales. Lengthen the tailbone downward, creating more length through the entire length of the spine.
Stay in the posture for 3-5 full-rounds of breath. If the pose feels challenging, use the breath as a tool to “soften.” Visualize the breath moving into the areas that feel tight, in order to create more space. Over time and through practice, you can slowly begin to straighten more through the legs. If the back begins to round, keep the knees bent in order to maintain proper alignment of the spine.
To come out of Dolphin: Drop to the knees and bring the hips over the heels into Child’s Pose, Balasana. Allow the forehead to touch the earth and reach the palms forward or allow the palms to fall to the sides of the body. Stay here for a few breaths and allow the breath to calm. Notice how you feel after taking the time to invert the body while doing this challenging posture.
Dolphin Pose is also a nice variation for those that struggle with putting weight on the wrists as in Downward Facing Dog. Dolphin Pose can prepare you for more challenging postures that require more strength and opening in the shoulders and upper back like Forearm Balance, Pincha Mayurasana.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.