The Magic Four
The focus of this series is to get you familiar with the foundation poses, “The Magic 4” and your daily practice.
#1: Slow Motion Dive
- Prep: Sit back in your chair, knees and feet wide. Walk feet in slowly until heels are under knees and shinbones are vertical and parallel to each other. Turn toes in.
- Stage 1: Lean torso forward, elbows on knees, hands dangling. Let head hang and back of neck lengthen. Soften belly and between shoulders.
- Stage 2: ** Stay in stage 1 if you have any of the following medical conditions: high blood pressure – even if medicated, hiatal hernia, glaucoma, or a history of detached retina or if stage 2 is uncomfortable for any reason.
- Slide arms down between knees and allow torso to sink forward in a slow motion dive! your back will round, head and neck hang. Keep big toes firmly on floor with toes turned inward. Stay 45 seconds to 3 minutes – total maximum time including Stage 1 – 4 minutes. To come out, use your arms to lift by placing elbows on your knees and prop yourself back into Stage 1 – let head hang. After a couple breaths, place hands on knees and push torso up, bringing head up last. Rest and observe: you may able able to identify a release in your tail bone muscles and feel your spine lengthened.
#2: Crook’d leg Pose
- Prep: Bring your legs and feet together, slide our feet forward 1-2 inches. Place your left ankle on your right knee and pause there for a breath of two. Use one hand to lift your knee upward, the other to slide your foot towards your hip crease. Check that your ankle bone is on your thigh bone to get the benefits of the pose.
- Stage 1: Lean shoulders back, lower your chin to your chest and arms rest in lap or hang at side. Soften here for minimum of 45 seconds, 3 minute maximum if not doing stage 2.
- Stage 2: **If you had difficulty getting into this position or have any of the medical conditions from Slow Motion Dive, do not go into Stage 2.
- Bring arms on top of your left shin, inhale as you lift your lower ribs and exhale, let your head and arms dangle forward. Back rounds as you soften into this angle. Any discomfort in your knee, return to stage 1. To come out, stack both hands on your standing knee and use your arms to tip your torso upward, head comes up last. Lift bent knee and place foot back on floor beside right foot. Repeat on the other side. Rest and observe. Total time; 4 minutes.
- Prep: Kneel on all fours, using blocks under your hands, wrists under your shoulders and thighs parallel to the floor. Bring your right leg between the blocks, shin forward at an angle, big toes down. Lean into your left hand and keeping your hips back, place your right hand on your belly, close in to your hip crease and scoop your belly up onto or over your right thigh. Slide your right hand forward and with the palm of your hand on your lowest ribs, move your ribs forward. Head hangs down beside your knee, hands back onto the blocks. Lower the blocks to the next level and walk them forward beside your front foot.
- Moving in: Now bend your right knee moving it forward keeping your hips level. Adjust, ankle under knee, wrists under your shoulders with the palms of your hands as low as they can go resting flat on blocks or the floor. Soften your belly, head hangs, arms straight, fingers spread wide. Stay for 45 seconds to 3 minutes.
- Moving out: Push into your hands to start your movement back and out of the pose. Let your head hang and you back up, raise the blocks to lean into to raise your torso and bring your leg back through. Repeat on the other side.
#4: Reclining Spinal Twist
- Laying on your back, bring your knees towards your chest and hold with your hands, knee side by side and toes touching. Open arms onto the floor at an angle, palms facing up, and roll your hips and legs to your right. Feet, legs and hips land on the floor.
- Move your bottom knee up to touch your wrist bone. Lower legs open to a 90 degree angle, feet are stacked, top knee slides a bit back and hips and chest open towards the ceiling.
- Turn your head in the same direction as your knees and bend your left elbow placing the palm of your hand on the side of your waist, elbow and shoulders lean back towards the floor.
- Rest allowing your whole body to soften. Stay for a minimum of 45 seconds or up to 5 minutes.
- Coming out, bring your head back to center, roll your legs back to center and hold side by side.
- Rest and observe. Then, repeat on the other side.
This is a brief description of the Magic 4 poses to give you a reminder of the alignments so you can begin your home practice! We’ll be repeating these poses often so you’ll become more familiar with them as your practice grows. Remember to practice slowly, gently and without any pain or discomfort. Any questions of comments, I’d be happy to hear from you!