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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Fresh Twists on Waking Up

Nov 01, 2017 10:21PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Barbara King, Salima Silverman, Meredith Musick, Kiersten Mooney

Although stretching does play a significant role in yoga postures, it’s not necessary to be a yogi or yogini in order to benefit from the flexibility, range of motion and sense of balance that stretching poses offer. An energizing morning practice of several stretching poses can provide sufficient natural stimulation to set the tone for a day of fluid movements from one chore or task to another.

Natural Awakenings queried experienced local yoga teachers regarding their favorite stretching poses they use to wake up the body and help it to move confidently through the day.

Susan Carter, We Choose Yoga, Fort Myers

A certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and yoga therapist, Carter also teaches at AHA! A Holistic Approach Center, in Fort Myers. She particularly likes the reclining hand-to-big-toe pose, which can also be performed in bed. “By looping a yoga strap or long scarf around the arch of the foot, the pose stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins, and calves. It also strengthens the knees and can relieve backache and sciatica. We spend so much of our day with our legs bent. This pose extends the legs, which can help with back and hip problems,” advises Carter.

Jennifer Colucci, Awakening Through Synergy, Naples

Colucci, a licensed massage therapist and yoga teacher, makes yoga’s banana pose part of her daily morning routine before leaving bed. “This is my go-to first thing in the morning pose. It stretches stomach muscles (oblique) and side muscles (intercostals) in-between ribs. It is also is a key pose for stretching the psoas muscle which originates in the lower back and attaches to the anterior superior iliac spine, otherwise known as the hip bone,” advises Colucci, who also offers private yoga therapy and different types of massage.

Barbara King, BKS Yoga, Naples

King likes the cobra pose, which strengthens the spine and opens the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen. It also firms the buttocks and soothes sciatica problems. “To find the height at which you can work comfortably and avoid straining your back, take your hands off the floor for a moment so that the height you find comfortable will be through extension, rather than pushing against the floor,” notes King.

Meredith Musick, Yoga and Massage Therapy, Naples

Musick favors the bent knee stretch, which offers benefits that include lengthening the entire front abdominal region, including the iliospsoas. To achieve maximum result, the straight leg needs to be actively stretching through the heel. “Twists are also beneficial for the spine and nervous system, as well as optimizing the lung and rib cage space for the diaphragm and respiratory system. Since the pose is done lying down on the floor, it is perfect for early in the morning after a full body stretch or two.

Kiersten Mooney, Green Monkey Yoga, Naples

Mooney chose a toe pose, a very effective stretch for the feet. She prescribes this pose in her yoga class for professional athletes, as well as in her Parkinson’s research class to help participants prevent falls. “Our feet are critical for balance, agility, proper gait and support of overall functional living and health. If the pose is too intense for your feet, ankles or knees, modify it by sitting on a blanket or bolster,” says Mooney.

Salima Silverman, Monarch Wellness, Naples

Silverman’s favorite stretching pose is named after the king of the birds, the eagle. As with all standing balancing poses, a wall can be used to brace and support the back torso while learning to balance. “The most noticeable benefits of this pose when properly and consistently done include stronger arms, legs, knees and ankles, as well as creating space between the shoulder blades,” advises Silverman, who also offers private yoga classes for adults and special needs classes for children.

Local Resources

AHA! A Holistic Approach Center, 15971 McGregor Blvd., Ft. Myers. 239-433-5995.

Awakening Through Synergy, 1084 Business Ln., Naples. 239-529-7582.

BKS Yoga, 2900 Tamiami Tr. N. 239-213-9276.

GreenMonkey Yoga, Naples, 6200 Trail Blvd., 239-598-1938; Naples, 1800 Tamiami Tr. E., 239-598-1938; Coral Gables, 1430 S. Dixie Hwy., Ste. 116, 786-953-7709; Miami Beach, 800 Bay Rd., 305-397-8566.

Monarch Wellness, 843 Myrtle Terr. 239-325-9210.

Meredith Musick Yoga and Massage Therapy, Naples. 239-269-8846.

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