Dolphins are amazing and this yoga pose is too, as it will challenge you mentally and physically. Dolphin pose is designed to open your shoulders and upper back, elongate your spine, stretch your hamstrings and build your upper body strength. It may look simple, but it calls on your concentration and willpower, especially towards that point towards the end of a session where your mind may tempt you to quit before your body is actually in need of a rest.
Dolphin pose is a great preparation for the build up to head stands and other inversions, boosting your confidence in what you can achieve. The strength you develop in your shoulders, back and deep core muscles will help you maintain your balance in a head stand – although this is definitely one to try under the careful and watchful supervision of a great yoga teacher!
A great addition to this pose is to lift one leg at a time high towards the ceiling or, if you need an easier option, try it using a yoga block between your hands.
Dolphins have a lifespan of up to 40 years and it can be the highlight of many peoples’ holidays to see them in the wild (kept in captivity without the freedom to wander the seas and rivers, they don’t survive anywhere near as long). Communicating with clicks, whistles and squeaks they use their fantastic sonar system to work out what is around them.
It seems fitting that the yoga pose named after them helps with proprioception, which is your body’s ability to sense where it is in space.
The inputs and sensations that guide your sense of positioning come from sensory nerves in your muscles and tendons (also known as muscle spindles) that also protect you from damaging them by stretching too far. It’s usually a subconscious process, but Dolphin pose helps fine tune the senses by demanding you pay attention to what you are doing physically.
Our favourite dolphins are spinner dolphins whose acrobatic gymnastics include spins and leaps, taking full advantage of their incredible power and speed through the water. To help maximise your own energy, try a hot yoga class and experience the great sense of freedom and enjoyment that comes when you challenge your body and mind to explore new and exciting postures.
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