"Head to Hip Pose" is another pose I teach in most of my classes as a warmup. "Cat/Cow" pose from last week works the spine front to back and "Head to Hip" pose this week works the spine side to side.
Begin in Table pose: On hands and knees with the knees under the hips, hip distance apart and hands under the shoulders or slightly in front with straight arms. Throughout this pose the hips remain over the knees without moving. On your next exhalation put a C-curve in your spine and look toward that shoulder. Inhale as you bring your body back to center and exhale C-curve on the other side.
You will notice and feel most of the movement in the thoracic (middle of your back) part of your spine up into your neck. The lumbar (lower back) is not designed to move side to side the way the vertebra are made. The middle back is designed for side to side movement. It's not an excessive amount of movement but it allows a lateral curve in that part of the spine.
Let your breath move your body with a long slow breath. This means the body moves slow too. With this side to side movement, the spine is being massaged from side to side.
Continue working on keeping the hips over the knees and not allowing them to move out to the side to get more of a curve. Also keep the arms from bending. These things typically happen when first beginning the pose.
Benefits: Improves posture. Stretches and strengthens the neck, spine, hips, back, shoulders and arms. Helps relieve stress and calms the mind.
Happy & Healthy,