Many of us focus on the front of our body.
What do we look like? We wonder how our clothes fit while looking in a mirror. We focus our workout on our abs and pecs and arms so we look good, from the front. But we often forget about our back side.
Yoga’s Dolphin Pose is a great posture that helps us regain mobility and suppleness by releasing tension and rightness along our entire backside. It strengthens our shoulders while elongating our spine and stretching our hamstrings and calves. In today’s video, Lauren Golen teaches us the Dolphin Pose, which as you will soon discover, is an excellent posture for your entire body, especially the back side and core.
Begin by kneeling on the floor, on all fours, but instead of your hands you will be resting on your forearms.
For optimal balance when assuming the Dolphin Pose you want your elbow directly under your shoulders. You can find this exact position by grabbing opposite elbows from the starting position.
Once the elbows are in place, place your hands in front of you and interlock the fingers.
Now with the knees bent and on the floor, tuck the toes so your rear weight is on the balls of your feet. Now lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
Because many of us have tight hamstrings, you may want to keep your knees slightly bent.
Often, when we try to straighten the legs too soon, the spine arcs to compensate; and we don’t want this. So it’s best to begin with a straight spine and slight bend in the knees.
With knees slightly bent, push your weight into the elbows and forearms and then push your body back toward your feet. This is not as complicated as it sounds, so be sure to follow along with Lauren.
Now, with your balance rooted in your forearms and knees slightly bent, you will push your weight back and try to rest your heels on the floor.
In this position, you will get a nice stretch in the Achilles, the calves and, pretty soon with some patience, the hamstrings as well.
To help facilitate the full Dolphin Pose, you want to pull in your belly and ribs to help keep the spine straight. And by bearing force down through the elbows and hands you will be able to stretch and open space in the upper (thoracic) spine.
Hold the pose for one or several minutes, as you are able. The stretch is wonderful but there is an amount of weight bearing down on the shoulders, so don’t overdo it.
After you have had a nice stretch, slowly come back to all fours, tuck your feet under and then rest back in Child’s Pose to relax.
With time and practice you will be able to stretch deeper and hold the pose longer for greater benefit. Until then, enjoy the process and the feeling of your body releasing tension.