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 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 looking at the aches and pains associated with hours of scrapbooking. All of that cutting, gluing, and hunching over the table is tough on your body. Maybe you’ve got a little bit of eyestrain from focusing on little details, too? Don’t despair! We’ve got some poses just for you.
Hands and Fingers
Begin in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you. As you inhale, straighten your back – imagine a string going up your spine and pulling everything upward. Exhale, and roll your shoulders back and down. Place your hands on the floor beside your bottom with your fingers pointing toward your toes, keeping your arms as straight as possible. Sit here in staff pose for 15 breaths.
From staff pose, push up on your hands, lift your bottom off of the floor, and point your toes. The idea is to keep your whole body straight from shoulders to toes. Let your head relax backwards, and engage your arms. Stay here in upward plank for 10 breaths.
Come to standing with your feet hip distance apart. On your next inhale, bring your hands into prayer position in front of your chest. Relax and breathe in this position for about 30 seconds.
Your Upper Back
Widen your stance so that your feet are almost in line with your wrists when you raise your arms parallel to the floor. Keeping your arms in that position, turn your right foot out and bend your right knee. You want your right thigh parallel to the floor, but you don’t want your knee to go past your ankle. If you need to, widen your stance even more to keep this from happening. Inhale and stretch to the right. As you exhale, tilt your body so your right hand comes down alongside your right ankle. Then reach your left hand over your head, stretching toward the right wall. Feel that nice stretch along your left side and in your upper back? Great! Hold extended side angle pose for 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Come onto your knees, but don’t sit on your heels. Put your hands on your hips, and as you inhale, arch your back up and backward. Relax your head back. This might be all you can do for the moment, and that’s totally fine. Just hang out here and breathe. If you can, take your hands off of your hips and grab your left foot with your left hand and right foot with your right hand. Draw your shoulderblades together and hold it here, breathing, in camel pose for 10-15 breaths.
Now, come onto your hands and knees. Inhale, and straighten your arms and legs. Your body will be in the shape of an inverted V. Focus on drawing your shoulderblades together while keeping your arms and legs straight. Stay here and breathe in downward dog for up to a full minute.
Those Tired Eyes
Come back to standing with your feet hip distance apart. On your next inhale, lift your right foot off of the floor, holding onto the knee with both hands. Find a spot far away in front of you to gaze at – this will help you stay balanced. Now, place that right foot on your left inner thigh and let go. Bring your hands into prayer position, and breathe here in tree stand for as long as you like. Repeat this posture on the other side.
Come back to standing, and on your next inhale, raise your arms over your head. Look up, and as you exhale, stretch your body up, bending forward and then down from the hips. Grab onto your elbows, and hang out here with straight legs in standing forward bend. Focus on your breath and let gravity do its thing. If you can maintain your balance, you’re free to close your eyes in this pose. If not, soften your gaze and choose something far away as a focal point.
Come onto hands and knees for one final posture. Walk your hands away from your knees, then arch your back so that your chest comes onto the floor. If you need to walk your hands out more to get your chest to touch, go for it! Keep your bottom up in the air and rest your forehead onto the floor. Close your eyes and relax here in extended puppy pose for 30 seconds.
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.
Image Credit: Downward Facing Dog. Creative Commons photo by My Yoga Online