[Creative Commons photo by enthusiast_rocks ]
We’re right smack in the middle of Fall festival season, and I’ve been sewing up a storm! All that time hunched over the cutting table and sewing machine is definitely taking its toll on my body, and I’m sure I’m not the only crafter that suffers aches and pains after a crafting marathon. Rather than pop a couple of ibuprofen this year, I’m trying to relieve my muscles a little more naturally with yoga poses that target parts of my body that take the most abuse during this time of year.
Whether you’ve just spent hours standing at the ironing board or cross-legged on your sofa, your legs could use a good stretch! Here are some poses that work on the legs, knees, and feet. As with any new exercise, please be cautious and consult your doctor before trying anything too terribly strenuous.
Tree Stand, a balancing pose, benefits your legs, feet, and back. Start out by standing up straight with your shoulders back. Focus your gaze on a spot on the wall in front of you, and use your left hand to grab hold of your right ankle. Place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Now, put your hands into prayer position. Breathe, and hold for up to a minute. If you feel like your balance is good, you can also raise your hands over your head, either with your palms facing each other or touching. Repeat the posture on the other side.
Wide Legged Forward Bend
This forward bend stretches your legs from top to bottom. Stand with your feet more than shoulder width apart. With your hands on your hips, lift your chin and bend forward with a flat back. Inhale, and as you exhale, reach for your ankles or calves – whichever you can grab. Remember to keep your abs and thighs engaged while you hang out, enjoying this stretch for 30 seconds to one minute. For a little more detail on this pose, check out this article from Yoga Journal.
Legs-Up-the-Wall, or Viparita Karani, is a relaxing posture for your legs and feet. To practice this pose, you’ll need a folded up blanket or a bolster for your back. Place the blanket near a wall – you will want it underneath your lower back in just a moment. Lay down on your back with your legs perpendicular to the floor, resting against the wall. Position the blanket so it support your lower back. Lengthen your neck, and lay your arms out to each side. Relax in this posture for as long as you like – up to 15 minutes!