Tag Archives: eagle pose

Yoga Break for Writers: 6 Easy Stretches to Relieve Overworked Arms

Writers produce by sitting at a desk all day, writing, reading, squinting, and leaning our neck towards the screen. Sitting all day like this can give us tight hips, tense shoulders, and neck irritation. Here are some Yoga poses that I do at my desk to loosen and stretch myself. If you do these poses about once an hour or once every two-to-three hours, you’ll find that your body is not so tense and stiff, which enables you to sit longer and write more.

Anyone who sits at a desk all day performing repetitive motions with their arms can do these easy exercises.

 Relieve Overworked Arms

Position #1: Sit at the edge of your chair, lift your arms over your head, effectively stretching the inside100_2792 of the shoulder. Clasp your fingers together, lift your arms straight up. Keep your shoulders down and back. Lift up out of your waist. Engage your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Extend through the palms, and deepen your breath. Remain in this pose breathing deeply for at least five slow, deep breaths. Slowly release and put hands back on knees.

Position #2: Sit at the edge of your chair, stretch your arms out in front of you parallel to the floor. They should be at shoulder100_2794 level. Put your right hand on your left shoulder. Using your left hand, press the right elbow. This  movement stretches the top of the shoulders. Don’t push the arm into your face. Keep arms level with shoulder. Keep back straight and sit erect, but not stiff. Release slowly.

Position #3: Push back from the desk, but remain seated near the edge of your chair. Open legs wide with your feet planted on the100_2795 floor. Take a deep breath and exhale, hinge at the hips, placing your palms or fingertips on the floor. Keep your head a long extension of your spine. Breathe deeply.

Sit straight up, shoulders down and back, chest out & open, with hands on each knee, and breathe deeply.

Position #4:  Turn towards your desk. Straighten your arms and lay your palms on the top of the desk.100_2798 Push your chair out, but stay seated in it. Legs are wide apart, feet on the floor. Your head will be slightly lower than your shoulders. Shoulders are extended. Back is not arched or curved, keep it straight, long, and lean. This movement stretches out your stiff spine. You are also opening the hips and shoulders.

Position #5: Move your chair out of the way. Put your hands on top of the desk. Stand back and do the same movement as100_2799 Position 4, but this time you are standing. Hinge at the hips, stick your tailbone out, and your stance is the width of your hips. Spread your fingers out wide. Deepen your breathing. You’ll feel a stretch in your armpits and shoulders, similar to when you are in downward facing dog.

Position #6: Sitting in your chair, bend your arms so that your hands are in front of you. Close your arms with the elbows and100_2800 palms toward each other. Cross your right arm over your left arm, and put your left hand in your right hand. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax into the pose. Don’t force it. You should feel a good stretch in your shoulders. Take deep, slow breaths. You will feel a good stretch between the shoulder blades. Breathe. Pull the elbows down. Now start over, but this time cross your left arm over your right arm. This move is called seated Eagle.

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. The Leisure Living Blog, its contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.

© 2009 KaTrina Love
www.leisurelivingblog.com

Yoga to Relieve Shoulder, Neck, and Upper Back Stress and Pain

HELPMy girlfriend sent me an urgent SOS message this weekend: HELP, my neck and shoulders are killing me. Whether you are stressed, overworked, tense, intense, or just uptight, you can get relief from aching, sore shoulders, arms, and upper back. Yoga is a great way to relax, center, focus, and prepare. You can also do yoga to loosen up and stretch during the day.

I am a writer and editor, so all day long I sit at a computer typing and reading. If I sit tense, with my shoulders hunched, intensely concentrating, and deeply thinking, I get shoulder pain. When I type a lot, my arms get fatigued. Several times during the day, I do Yoga poses and breathing to eradicate the pain associated with stress and overuse. I encourage you to do these poses during the day to loosen up your muscles and reduce pain and strain.

The calming Yoga breathing and some specific poses can help to reduce the stress that you’ve accumulated in your body. Most of us carry our stress in our shoulders. I’m going to give you a series of exercises to help you alleviate shoulder stress. Some of these poses you can do while sitting at your desk and in other convenient locations.

Warming Up

EasySeatedPoseMy warm up routine includes stretching and soothing my neck muscles, shoulders, and spine. To start, get into a comfortable seated position. I sit cross-legged, but if that is not comfortable for you, arrange your sitting position for your comfort. Just make sure, that your base remains strong and steady on the mat. Sit up straight, lifting your rib cage out of your waist, straighten your spine, lift your head so that your nose is pointed straight ahead. It is important that your posture is lifted. Make sure that your shoulders are down and slightly back. During all of these poses, remember to inhale and exhale, matching your breath to each movement, keep your shoulders down, and tune in to what you are feeling in your body.

Calm, focused breathing

Still your mind and think only about your intentions in this session. You want to calm, soothe, and alleviate stress and the pain it brings. Breathe in and out through your nose (not your mouth). Take a deep breath in: slowly fill the chest with air, imagining that you are pulling in joy, love, peace, and light. Deeply and completely exhale the breath: you will actually use your abdominal muscles to push the breath out, imagining that you are expelling all toxins, stress, and tension. Keep taking those breaths until you feel yourself relax.

Neck Rolls

After about three to five minutes, add head movements to your breathing:

When you inhale, lift your face to the ceiling, and when you are ready to exhale, slowly put your chin to chest. Do this movement 3 times each way for a total of 6. Don’t rush.

100_2693 100_2694

On your last exhale, with your chin to your chest,  roll your head around until your right ear is100_2692 above your red shoulders (make sure your shoulders are down and not hunched up near your ear). You will feel a stretch in your neck and as your neck is stretching, extend your left hand out to your side with your fingers tinted on the mat. Take a couple of deep breaths, and then roll your head to the left side, so that your left ear is over your left shoulder. Note: As you roll your head from side to side, roll it in the front of your body with your chin to your chest. This movement is an exhale. You can alternate back and forth from each side.

When you are ready, do an entire slow neck roll, matching your breathing to your movement. Inhale when your face and head are up and exhale when your face and head are down.

Seated stretches (back & forward)

YogaBackkStretchWith your legs folded, put your rightOpenChest hand on your right knee and your left hand on your left knee. Pull your shoulders forward, round your back, pull your navel into your spine, as you sit back on your tail bone. You should feel a deep stretch in your back and shoulders. Counter this pose by putting your hands palms to the floor behind you, push your chest and rib cage out, and lift your face to the ceiling. Continue back and forth between the two poses 3 to 6 times.

100_2697In your seated position, bend forward with your chin to chest, heading towards the floor. Reach out of your shoulders with your arms out in front of you and stretch. To get a stretch in your shoulders, clasp your hands behind you and lift them up as much as you can.

If it is too painful for you to get your arms up, alternately, sit up, bend your arms clasping your100_2698 fingers together behind your head. Stick your chest and rib cage out while you simultaneously press your shoulders back. Your scalpulas are contracted towards each other.

100_2696Seated Side Stretch

Sit cross-legged. Lift your left arm up to the ceiling, reaching out of your waist, and then bend your torso towards the right, bringing yoursidestretchleft arm over parallel to your ear. Your right arm should be on the floor supporting you. Gaze toward the ceiling. When you sit up, inhale, and when you bend to each side, exhale.

You can also do a side stretch with your fingers linked and your arms above your head. This move is going to help your shoulders and your oblique muscles of the side.

 

Seated Twist

YogaTwistSitting with your legs folded put your left hand on your right knee. Inhale, lifting your chest and rib cage, while you put your right hand behind you, and exhale as you turn to the right as far as you can and attempt to look over your right shoulder. Keep your shoulders down and back and your right arm straight. Don’t lean on the right arm, use it to push you up. You want to remain erect. Remember to breath. Do the same thing on the other side. Not only does this move help your shoulders, but it also massages your internal organs, helping digestion, and it massages and stretches your spine.

Poses that open and increase strength and flexibility in your shoulders

Poses that open, release, and stretch your shoulder and arm area:

Seated Eagle Pose

100_2688Eagle Pose is a balancing pose; however, we are modifying the pose. Sit100_2689 down cross-legged. Bend your arms so that your hands are in front of you. Close your arms with the elbows and palms toward each other. Cross your right arm over your left arm, and put your left hand in your right hand. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax into the pose. Don’t force it. Eagle ArmsYou should feel a good stretch in your shoulders.

  

  

Seated Eagle 

 

Cow Face Arms

CowArmThe positioning of the arms in the Cow Face position opens, stretches,cowposefront and relieves the shoulders. Only go as far as your body tells you to go, and be mindful of how your body feels in the pose. You can use a towel or band to help if you cannot get your fingers interlocked. Don’t push it. If you practice often, the pose will get easier to get into because your body will become more flexible.

Thread the Needle

ThreadNeedleThreading the Needle stretches and opens your shoulders. Get on yourThreadNeedle01 hands and knees. Take your right arm and curve it through the opening made by your straightened left arm and your body.

Take the right arm through until you are laying on the side of your face.

 

Cat/Cow

cowOn your hands and knees, arc your back up and tuck your tail bonecat under. Push your back up as much as possible. This is Cat. You should feel a stretch across the top of your back and shoulders and the middle of your back. For Cow, drop your stomach, stick your tail bone up, and lift your face. When you are in Cat, exhale. When you are in Cow, inhale.

 

camelCamel Pose

Camel Pose is a backbend that stretches the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. It also improves spinal flexibility. Click here for detailed instructions about Camel Pose.

© 2009 KaTrina Love

Applying Yoga to Daily Living

Tree Pose

As a professional writer, my goal is to write compelling, pertinent content, that inspires, informs, and captures the interest and emotions of my readers, but when I am stressed or distracted, I fail to pen the prose that helps my readers, which stresses me out more.  The worst thing for a writer is to be unable to write or to be able to write, yet be unable to focus and pull enough concentration to write useful, effective content. The result is decreased confidence and productivity. Lately, when I sit down to write there are often so many ideas, words, situations, and problems assaulting my mind that I cannot concentrate or focus. The problems and responsibilities of the day descend upon me at the very moment that I sit down, still my mind, and conjure my creativity and innovation to write. All of that chatter, noise, and chaos shows up in my writing, and I end up being unable to use it.

In Yoga, when we perform balancing poses there is so much to think about as we attempt the pose: are our feet straight ahead, toes spread, weight evenly distributed on the foot, are our hips squared, shoulders down, tail bone tucked in, chest lifted, arms, legs, and neck in proper position, if I straighten will I lose the balance. But Yoga teaches us to harness those thoughts into one fluid motion so that our only concern is where we are in the moment, thoughts on nothing but the pose and breathing. That is the main purpose of the balancing poses, to make us focus, be present in the moment, and to control our thoughts.

One day after a very successful practice with balancing poses, I thought, what if I could bottle up this focus & concentration that I get from Yoga and let it loose while I write. And then I realized later on, as I sat in front of my computer rewriting, that I can apply that discipline to writing and other projects too. If I grab one idea, word, thought, or a single character, I can streamline my thoughts and channel them to one pertinent space.

It helped! Now, I can concentrate on one character at a time and make each scene applicable to one character, even if there are multiple characters involved. For my creative non-fiction, I take one phrase, word, or scripture, and I narrow my thoughts to one entity. If thoughts of other items arrive, I invoke  the discipline that Yoga teaches me. I simply bring my focus back to my breathing and that one item I am nurturing, which helps me to avoid distraction and continue to completion with my original thought.

 There are so many things that I learn in Yoga that I can apply to a multitude of areas in my life. I’m more disciplined, in tune, and aware. I’m learning to integrate the principles of my Yoga practice into my everyday life. And it is helping tremendously.

Namaste & Happy Writing
Trina

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. The Leisure Living Blog, its contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.

© 2009 KaTrina Love Abram