Posts In: stretch

How are your hips?  Do you feel stiff in your hips and low back?  Like they just don’t sway like they used to?  If you sit in a desk most of the day or stand on your feet you might be tight in your hips and low back that can cause a lot of pain.  Below you will find a simple stretch that can be done in stationary chair (no wheels please) that will alleviate aches and pains due to inactivity.  So pull up a chair.

Pigeon in chair hip stretch

Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet planted firmly in front of you and sit up tall.  Now cross your left ankle over your right knee, like a man would typically cross his legs.  If you are really tight your knee crossed over will point towards the ceiling and it will feel very awkward.  In that case put books, blankets or a higher chair underneath you so your knee of the foot on the floor is 90º, in this case the right knee.  Lift up through your spine to be as high on your sit bones as possible creating a flat back.  You may feel some stretching in your hip just by being in this position and if so just hang out there for at least 30-60 sec.

If you don’t get much sensation place your hands up a wall as high as you can,  or find something to pull on like a yoga ropes wall or a bar and lean forward keeping the spine straight until you begin to feel a stretch in the hip of the leg that is crossed over.  After 30-60 seconds change to the other side.  Repeat each side at least three times.  After you are done stand up and gently bend at the waist reaching forward towards your toes.  Then come back to a standing position and take a walk.  See if your hips have a little more swing to them.  Now put an alarm clock at your desk or workstation to help remind you to do this again at least two more times throughout the day.

You will find this stretch, when repeated often, will be very helpful in alleviating all sorts of hip and lower back pain.  As always, let me know how it goes.

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

Write to Justine at hello@fulleryoga.com or find on Facebook

Now that Spring is finally upon us, it’s time to twist out those cobwebs of Old Man Winter.  This will require a chair and humility.  Let’s first open our back a little before we start.  Go ahead and stand up tall, then soften your knees so there is a slight bend, then creasing at the hips fold over and hang your upper body towards the floor.  Let your head go and make sure you can see between your legs. Take 3 deep breaths.  When you feel ready slowly roll up one vertebra at a time.  Now we are ready for a twist.

You will need a chair with no arm handles so that you can position yourself properly to execute the twist.  Sit so that your right shoulder is facing the back of the chair and your right hand on the far side of the back of the chair.  Your left hand will be across your body and closer to you.  Lengthen your spine from the pelvic floor up through the crown of the head and inhale.

Then as you exhale begin twisting your abdomen first, then your rib cage, shoulders and finally your head.  This twist should move up your spine.  You don’t want your shoulders twisted if your belly button hasn’t moved yet.  Once you have gotten yourself into the pose take a deep breath in and as you exhale twist deeper.  Stay there for 3 more breaths.  When ready release from the pose slowly.

Staying there turn gently to the left to release the deep back muscles.  Now change sides by facing your legs to the other side.  You may repeat this if you like. 

As you are twisting it’s best to close your eyes and imagine your stress, tension and worries literally getting wrung out.  Squeeze out the bad vibes and when you release begin to inhale a new one and feel how your life would be without the stress you’ve been experiencing.

As always let me know how it goes.

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

This week we are going to learn how to stretch our neck.  Seems easy enough but there are lots of small movements we can do to make the stretches more effective and long lasting.  Again you can do this seated or standing.  (Hint: I recommend doing this with a friend who can read the instructions to you as you do them.) Start by centering yourself using the Durga Breath we learned last week.  Go ahead I will wait……

Ok to begin, gently lower your chin to your chest.  Make sure you do not let your shoulders slump forward though.  It’s important to keep your spine long and just stretch the neck.  Your head is anywhere from 12 to 14 lbs. and more if you’re stubborn; so let the weight of your head hang forward.  You should feel a gentle pulling on the back of your neck.  Breathe.  Now roll your right ear to your right shoulder NOT your shoulder up to your ear!  Keep your ear in line with the shoulder you should be looking forward not down to the floor or up to the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.  Feel how the left side stretches?  Each time you exhale focus on releasing tight muscles; whatever that means to you.  If you have to imagine a puppy or a happy baby to think light then do so until you understand what it means and feels like to relax.  Now to release roll your chin back to your chest.  There are lots of small muscles in the neck and we do not want to strain them after having taken such a deep stretch.

Lift your head up from center and look straight ahead.  Close your eyes and feel the difference between the right and left sides of your neck.  Pretty cool huh?  Now repeat on the other side.

If you feel tightness in any area of the movement from chin to your chest to ear to your shoulder go ahead and stop where it feels tight, breath and allow your neck to relax.  Be kind to your neck, it has to hold up all that wisdom, intelligence and maybe a little stubbornness. 

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

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