Saturday, November 22, 2008

How to Hang Over The Bed Using Weights

You just hang. Over the bed. Holding weights.

Okay, maybe that isn't so intuitive for everyone. So, here is what you should bear in mind;

Your lower back probably bends pretty well already. But nor so much your upper back. How do you know this? Well, if you look in the mirror or take a photo of yourself in a backbend, you might notice that you literally fold at your lower back, while your upper back is flat.

The bed hang can change that.
Lie on the bed, with your shoulders just off the bed. Hang. Raise your arms overhead. Notice whether your shoulders tend to hunch in as you do so. If so, focus on externally rotating your arms in your shoulder sockets to broaden across the collar bones. Let the arms hang down. Heavy. Allow gravity to do its work.

If you want to up the intensity, add weights. Have the weights handy on the bed - five or eight pound dumbells to start. Set up for a bed-hang, and take hold of the weights. Gently lower your hands, weights in hand, overhead. Gently. Maintain the open collarbones. Allow gravity to do its work. Feel your chest crack open.

I use ten-pound weights - I am strong, and it feels good. Use your judgement. You want a stretching feeling in your chest and shoulders, not a ripping sensation. Start with a low weight and work your way up only to the point where you feel the gravitational pull.

You can also do this work with a block standing vertically under your upper back - between the shoulderblades. For this, a lower weight is probably sufficient - it is for me. With bent elbows, take the weights overhead and gradually let the arms straighten and hang towards the floor.

For the thoracic spine to bend, the chest has to be willing to open. This allows that to happen, at least for me, in a dramatic way.

Be careful. Use the lowest weights needed to create that gravitational stretch. Maybe you just need to hold soup cans to start. No need to get injured. No need to rush or push.

If it doesn't feel really good, then stop! Maybe you're not ready yet. Maybe you need to lie on a ball or just hang over the bed without weights. Remember: if it doesn't feel good, don't do it.



Yogamum said...

Thanks for explaining that -- it is *exactly* what I need! I will start with the soup cans as my upper back is really, really tight!

Kevin said...

Thanks YC, will give it a go, you are so right about the lower back being ever so bendy and the upper part having hardly any movement in comparison.

susiegb said...

Thank you so much YC! I had been trawling through your earlier posts to see if there was a description on how to do this! I'm definitely going to try this ... my back definitely doesn't bend in the upper section - sort of hinges in the lower back. It needs all the help I can give it! :)

alice said...

i can't wait to try this, my chest and shoulders are super tight... I am nowhere near kapotanasana, but I am very inspired, now I see it everywhere!

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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