The sun has been out warming us up! Yes, I know that it’s not very consistent yet but when the sun shines I think of watermelon! Take a large watermelon, cut it in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise again, twice. Now you have a lovely, long curved shape. Just the right width from which to take a large bite.

This beautiful, lengthened curve is what we see in Swan. In April we looked at Swimming, which has a strong link to the exercise.

We start in full Cobra: lying prone with hands comfortably beside your shoulders on the mat. Forehead to the floor. Inhale to extend your thoracic onto elbows, exhale to extend your arms and back further. Your arms should be straight here. Think of a light being on your sternum (breastbone) and try to shine it forward and slightly up. Legs are very active and trying to reach back behind you.

Exhale to rock forward reaching your arms overhead and lifting hips and legs off the floor. Inhale to rack back so that arms and torso lift up into extension. The effect here is of a seesaw rocking back and forward with your abdomen and pelvis as the central stabilising point.

This exercise is less about the achieved height of arms, torso and legs in the rocking phase and more about strength, length and control.

Things to watch out for when you are not doing this exercise under supervision:

  • Press through floor with your hands initially to stop your shoulders from sinking
  • Keep the back of the neck long
  • You certainly shouldn’t feel any pain in your back. If there is a niggle in your lower back, go back to Cobra to practice engaging pelvic floor and abdominals before you move into Swan
  • Pop something like a soft ball, yoga block or Magic Circle between your ankles to assist with maintaining beautifully strong, extended legs
  • If you have a Magic Circle or large ball at home then holding that can also help with maintaining strong, connected shoulders
  • For additional visual cues, imagine that you are trying to reach out to make the slice of watermelon as long as possible
  • It’s probably a good idea not to have eaten for about two hours before you do this exercise and there is a fair bit of stomach massage going on!

What you will feel:

  • A lovely, strong connection at your shoulders, they will feel wide and open at the front
  • Your glutes will be working to maintain leg position and your abdominals will be very active to maintain that lovely, long curved shape and protect your lower back