Craft show season is getting close, and that means all of you green crafty biz owners are probably working overtime to get merch ready for the upcoming fall shows! Any sort of repetitive action is tough on your body, and crafting is no different. Rather than pop an over the counter pain medication, why not take some time to relax and stretch the soreness away with some yoga poses targeted at the places that take the most abuse?
As with any new exercise, please be cautious and consult your doctor before trying anything too terribly strenuous.
This week we’re taking a look at the aches and pains that come with hours of knitting or crochet. From what you guys had to say on Twitter, it sounds like all that yarn work hits ravelers hardest in the wrists, fingers, neck and chest. Never fear! Here are some poses to help you recoop a little bit.
Fingers and Wrists
Start out in a seated position, with your legs crossed. Sit up as straight as you can, and bring you hands into prayer position. Relax in salutation seal and breathe. Try to clear your mind and stay in this position for a few moments.
While still sitting cross legged, place your hands on the floor beside you. Push with your hands on the floor to come up into tolasana. The idea is to get your whole body off of the floor and balance on your hands. If you’re having trouble lifting up, you can try using blocks like the example from Yoga Journal. Hold for 10 breaths, then reverse the way your legs are crossed and repeat.
Come into a pushup position, making sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Keep your core engaged – you want a flat back in plank posture. Hold the pose and breathe. If this is a little too intense, you can also bring your knees to the floor. Just focus on keeping your arms straight without hyper-extending your elbows. After about 10 breaths, push back and relax for a moment in child’s pose.
Come back to a seated position for some easy neck rolls. Let your chin drop to your chest, then roll your head around to the left, to the back, finishing with your chin at your chest. Repeat a few times, pausing anywhere that you feel tension. Repeat in the other direction.
There’s nothing like gravity for a good, gentle neck stretch. Start this next pose on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Inhale, and straighten your legs as much as you can while keeping your back flat, and come up onto your toes. Now, rest your forearms on the floor to come into full dolphin pose. Keep your head right between your arms and think about lengthening your neck. Hold this pose for up to a full minute.
Stand up with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your right foot out and slightly turn your left foot in. Now, raise your arms over your head, stretching upward and come into a deep lunge. You want to be certain that your right knee does not go past ankle. If you need to, widen your stance to prevent that from happening. Tilt your head upward slightly to gaze at your fingertips, and feel the stretch up your arms and through your wrists and fingers. Hold for 10 breaths, then switch up your legs and repeat.
Let’s start with my favorite chest opener! Lay down on your stomach and bend your knees, so your feet are resting on your bottom. Reach back and grab hold of your ankles. Exhale, and as you inhale raise your thighs and your chest off the floor, coming into bow pose. You’re sort of pulling with your legs and arms here to raise your body off of the mat. Feel that great stretch through your chest and arms. Try to relax and hold the posture for 10 deep breaths. Relax once again in child’s pose until your breathing returns to normal before you move on to the next posture.
Come onto your stomache once again, placing your hands alongside your shoulders. As you inhale, straighten your arms and press your legs together to come into upward facing dog. Tilt your head back and breathe for 15-30 seconds. This posture not only opens the chest, but you’re fitting in a last good stretch for your wrists and neck.
Move so that you’re close to a wall for this next posture. You may want a small pillow or rolled up towel to support your lower back. Place your support about 6 inches from the wall to start, then lay down and swing your legs up into the air, so they’re resting on the wall with your back on the floor. If you feel like your back isn’t supported, adjust your pillow until you’re in a comfortable position. Try to flatten your upper back on the floor and lay your arms out to either side for viparita karani. Hold this pose for as long as you like…up to 15 minutes.
No yoga practice is complete without a final relaxation. Lay on your back for a few moments with your eyes closed. Notice how your body feels different after your practice, notice your breath. Try to carry this feeling with you even after your practice is over.