I have been using past issues of Australian Yoga Journal to help me understand the contraindications of two injuries I have from a fall—a torn rotator cuff and two bulged lumbar discs. I have had this medically assessed, but was wondering if you could suggest some gentle yoga poses to help me in my recuperation. Lea Dillon, via email
The following gentle routine will aid in increasing circulation and encourage freedom of movement.
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Place your fingers on the shoulders and, moving with your breath, draw the elbows together, up and back, making circles. Repeat 5 times in each direction. Next, inhale and smoothly sweep the arms forward and up alongside the head; you may rise onto the balls of the feet, if you wish. As you exhale lower the arms to the sides, with palms turned down. Repeat 3 times.
Inhale and slowly raise the arms from the sides, palms facing up, until alongside the head. Make a V shape with the arms, hold briefly, then as you exhale bring the palms together and lower to the heart. Repeat 3 times.
With the hands together at the heart, inhale and move the arms to the sides at shoulder height. Hold for a moment, keeping the lower tips of the shoulderblades gently squeezing in towards the spine and the shoulders drawn away from the ears. Exhale and bring the palms together at the heart. Repeat 3 times.
Lie, belly down, on a folded blanket. Come up onto the forearms, placed slightly wider than the ribs. Lengthen the legs from the hips to the feet. Press down with the forearms and draw the chest forward and upward into a gentle Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) variation. Be sure not to lead with the chin. Exhale and slowly release, forehead to the floor. Repeat 6 times, then hold the pose for up to 12 breaths. Over time you may graduate to regular Cobra Pose.
Kneel in Vajrasana for a few breaths, then lie in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for a healing relaxation.
Adam Bornstein and his partner Akash are the founders of Radiant Light Yoga on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. They offer teacher training and yoga therapy courses as well as classes, workshops, retreats and personalised sessions. Visit www.radiantlightyoga.com