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GETTING fit

Keep joints strong

Can you name the parts of the body that bear the most impact from our daily activities? Our joints, and we have 360 of them in the average adult human body. • Joints are some of the most amazing structures around. We have joints that rotate, hinge, glide, twist, and fold. Our bones are also incredible structures that support our muscles and organs but if we were one solid piece, movement would be impossible. In order to walk, throw, dance, skate, sit, skip, or jump we rely on our joints. Watch just one event in the Winter Olympics and you'll see the joints' incredible abilities in action. • Like every other moving part, joints need motion to keep them doing all the incredible things they do and keep them strong while doing it. So under-use can cause them to become stiff and stuck. Energy wants to move through the body just as blood moves through blood vessels. Failing to heed that call can lead to inflammation, arthritis and other conditions. • Strengthen your joints and keep them moving freely with this short sequence:

Standing Half Moon Pose

Joint focus: Spine, shoulder, outer hip

• Stand with feet hip distance apart.

• Reach arms alongside ears and take the left wrist with the right hand.

• On an exhalation, carefully bend to the right while reaching upwards and keeping your feet rooted downwards. Gently pull left arm, going only as far as is comfortable for you. Hold for 5 to 8 deep breaths.

• Come back to center and change sides.

Standing Chair Pose (Powerful Pose)

Joint focus: Spine, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows

• Stand with feet hip distance apart.

• Stretch arms sideways to shoulder height, then bend at the elbows, so that arms form a goal post shape. Keep palms facing forward and your upper arms parallel to the floor.

• Sit down and back, as if sitting into a chair. Carefully keep knees stacked over ankles (you should be able to wiggle your toes) and sink weight into buttocks and thighs. Rock back towards heels for better stability. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

Cow Face Posture

Joint focus: Spine, shoulder, ankle, wrist

• Sit in a simple cross legged position.

• Reach the right arm directly out from the shoulder, rotate the thumb to the floor. Slowly reach the right arm behind the back towards the shoulder blades.

• Reach the left arm alongside the left ear, palm facing the wall behind you. Bending at the elbow, slowly lower the left arm towards the right arm. You may or may not be able to link fingers. Do not force — use a strap to bridge the gap between hands.

• Be mindful that the arms don't push the head forward. Keep your heart open, lifting from the ribs. Turn your head toward the left arm. Hold for 8-10 breaths. Carefully release the arms from behind the back.

• Repeat on the other side.

Diana Reed is a yoga teacher, writer and co-owner of Gaya Jyoti Yoga in Hernando County. She can be reached at gayajyotiyoga.com or (352) 610-1083.

Keep joints strong 02/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:58pm]
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