Standing Arm Swings

Coat Sleeves

"The most important pieces of equiptment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind." - Rodney Yee

Standing Arm Swings

Introduction to Standing Arm Swings

Standing Arm Swings/Coat Sleeves

This simple and somewhat unconventional movement practice warms up the spine and the lower and upper back muscles. 

This dynamic yoga movement is practiced while standing with the feet a little wider than the hips. 

This warm-up helps to release habitual holding and tension in the arms, neck, shoulders, forearms, and the entire spine. The goal is to consciously let go of the weight of your arms, so they respond passively to the twisting in your torso. As your spine rotates, your arms get “tossed” through space without any effort of their own. They move because they are relaxed and responsive to the movement in the torso.

How to Practice

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet just wider than your hips. 
  2. Rotate your spine to one side and wrap your arms around your waist. 
  3. On an inhale, rotate from your navel and bring your torso to the other side. 
  4. Allow your arms to go limp and float around to the other side. Do not move the arms themselves; instead, allow them to be flung away from the body because of the rotation in the torso. 
  5. As your torso stops its rotation on the other side, allow the arms to drop and wrap again around your abdomen. 
  6. Repeat this movement several times in each direction.

Practice Tips

To really feel this movement, you have to surrender all control of your arms. This can be difficult to find, but once you get into a rhythm it becomes easier to let go and allow the arms to be moved by the momentum of the torso.

Recommended Use

This would be a great way to warm up the spine for any deeper yoga twisting practice. It also does wonders to release tension in the upper body. Because this warm-up requires a deep sense of connection to your body, it also serves as a great practice to work on body-awareness/interoception. You could also use this warm-up before a yoga class themed around trust and/or letting go.

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