January 8: Bowing Dove

The first 7 days were spent moving and stretching the upper body.  This next 7 days will focus on the lower body.  We begin today with Bowing Dove. We often use Bowing or Bowing Dove as a transition from one place to another, standing positions to sitting positions or merely as a way to release stress in the lower back.

From a standing position bring hands the heart.  Begin prayer breathing (or perform the previous sequence if you’d like) to get your focus. Hands to the heart, lift at the heart, contract at the abdominals and hinge at the hips.  Always move as though there is a hinge at the hip and do not collapse at the lower back.  Keep the abdominals tight to help protect the lower back area.  Always keep a soft knee, do not lock at the joint. As you bow contract the quad (upper leg in front) muscles to gain a deeper stretch in the hamstring (upper leg in back.) Imagine pulling up at the kneecap to engage this muscle.

If you’d like to make the stretch more intense and engage the upper body you can move your arms into “Dove” by widening them, palms facing out, pulling the shoulder blades together.  Be mindful of your lower back in this position and keep the abdominals contracted!

As you breathe into this position focus FIRST on the physical aspects of the movement.  Understand the physical movement and then once you feel confident you can follow your breath…hands at the heart, inhale as you begin prayer breathing (circling arms) upon exhale hinge at the hips into the bow and bring arms to Dove (if you’d like.)  As you bow, focus on the verse that informs this position. See this movement as a physical act of worship, a bowing down to the One who made you and all the world!

“All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Ps 66:4

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