[Creative Commons photo by Evan Lovely]
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.
When you spend extended amounts of time bent over your tools, your back takes a beating. Never fear! There are some great, easy poses to help your body recover! As with any new exercise, please be cautious and consult your doctor before trying anything too terribly strenuous.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose lets gravity do most of the work to stretch your spine. Stand up straight with your feet hip distance apart. Bend forward, keeping your back as straight as you can. Hang out here, holding the pose for 30-60 seconds, going a bit deeper into the stretch with each exhale. You might not be able to touch the floor at first, but with a little practice you’ll get there.
Staff Pose is a seated posture that’s great for countering all of that time spent hunched over your craft project. Sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you and your palms on the floor by your sides. Imagine a string pulling your spine straight upwards. To complete the posture, lower your chin toward your chest and hold for a minute or even more, if you like.
Downward Facing Dog
On top of back pain, marathon crafting can leave you pretty groggy. Downward Dog is a wonderful pose for stretching and strengthening your back and for a boost of energy. Start this pose on your hands and knees. On an exhale, tuck your toes and straighten your legs, so that you’re forming an inverted V with the floor. Press your heels toward the floor and hold for up to three minutes. Need a little more detail? Here is a video demonstration for downward dog.
Upward Facing Dog
This is a great counter pose to the upward facing dog and for hours sitting at the sewing machine or bent over any other project. It strengthens your whole back while stretching your chest and stomach. Lay on your belly with your feet together. On an inhale, place your palms flat on the floor under your shoulders and gently press. Look upward and let your head tilt slightly backwards. Be careful not to let your shoulders shrug up by your ears – keep them actively down. You can hold this pose for 15-30 seconds.