Tag Archives: stretch

Yoga Break 4 Writers: Got Distracted? Refocus and Center

Did you get distracted? Hit a mental brick wall? Lost your train of thought? Ate too much Thanksgiving Turkey? No problem. Yoga’s balancing poses help you to focus, center, and be aware. When I get distracted or lose my train of thought, I do Tree Pose. It takes a lot of focus and concentration to complete Tree Pose, so after you’ve gotten in the pose, use that focus to finish writing.

You can use the desk to balance you, if necessary. Tree Pose is good for refocusing and centering your mind. When you are writing/working, there are often distractions or your mind might start to wander. Just stand up and do Tree Pose, making sure that you tailbone is tucked in, your shoulders are down & back, your abdominal muscles are engaged, and your gaze is focused on a non-moving object.

Stand up straight in proper posture, which means that all parts of your body are engaged. You are the trunk of the tree, strong and powerful. Tucking your tailbone in, tightening your buttocks, pressing your shoulders down and back, and raising your knees helps you to balance better. You can place your foot at your ankle, below your knee on your shin, or above your knee on your thigh. Just do not place your foot on your knee. After you get your foot positioned, turn your knee outward, which means that your inner thigh is turned straight ahead and your knee is pointing to the side. Lift your neck and head.

Concentrate, inhale through your nose, and bring your palms together in prayer position at heart level. Balance. When you feel balanced, you can raise your palms above your head. You can stop here or you can keep going and widen your arms above your head. Now, you are the tree branches and leaves, soaring, steady, and strong. As you inhale, imagine yourself breathing in light, energy, positivity, and power.

When you are ready to exit Tree Pose, bring your hands into prayer position, exhale, and bring your hands down to prayer position at heart level. As you exhale, expel all toxins, frustrations, mental blocks, and self-deprecating thoughts. Place your foot back on the floor, and raise the other leg.

Namaste and 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
www.leisurelivingblog.com

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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 Pose Series: Camel Pose

camelCamel Pose

Camel Pose is a backbend that stretches the chest, abdomen, and quadriceps. It also stimulates your internal organs and improves spinal flexibility. Practicing backbends helps to improve your posture and helps you to stop leaning forward as you sit at your desk or drive. 

Before You Begin: Put extra padding under your knees. If you have bad knees, you probably don’t want to do this pose.

Camel011. *Rise up onto your knees, which should be hip-width apart.

2. Reach your arms towards the ceiling, and open your chest.

3. Reach your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels. If yourModifiedCamel hands cannot reach the heels of your feet yet, put your hands at the small of your back.

Camel024. Bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees.

5. Lift your nose to the ceiling, which opens your throat. But don’t let your head hang, keep control of it.

6. To come out of Camel Pose, lift one hand at a time off of your heel and put it into the small of your back to offer support to your back.

7. Counter pose Camel pose with Child’s pose to get a good balance. You can also alternate backChilds pose and forth between Camel and Child’s pose.

 CAMEL NOTES: Make sure that you push your hips out in front of you. You should feel a nice contraction in your back and a stretch of your shoulders and arms. Remember to breath…inhale and exhale through your nose. Relax your face, and don’t fight or struggle with the pose. Make sure that you counter pose Camel with Child’s Pose.

*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

Daily Inspiration 09/08/09

Live Skillfully

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings…”
(Proverbs 22:29, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Too often, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing the same way over and over every day. But if we are going to live at our absolute best, we should constantly be growing and sharpening our skills. We should strive to learn and grow every single day because when you stop learning, you stop growing. When you stop growing, you stop living.

What are you doing to stretch yourself? What are you doing to improveimproveskills your skills? Don’t get trapped into thinking that “good enough” is good enough. You are created for more than just average. Today is a new day, and there are new heights for you to climb. Pursue what you love and keep developing that area of your life. Take a class or find a mentor that will help you live skillfully. As you do, you’ll rise up higher and higher. You will stand before leaders and rulers, and you’ll live the blessed life God has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

“Father in heaven, today I choose to rise out of mediocrity. I choose to give my very best to everything I do. Teach me to live skillfully so that my life is a continual praise to you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Yoga: Sun Salutations Part 1

SunSalGrupThis week, I want to give you a variety of Sun Salutation vinyasas. You can adapt Sun Salutations to suit your mood, energy level, or available time, and let your practice shine. This first series is from Richard Rosen at Yoga Journal.

Sun Salutation is a series of postures that warms, strengthens, and aligns the entire body. It’s serves as an all-purpose yoga tool, kind of like a hammer that’s also a saw and a screwdriver, if you can imagine such a thing.

This sequence might be considered the classic one, but there are so many variations that many modern schools would dispute this. You can alter this particular Sun Salutation by playing with its pace. If you move through the sequence rapidly (by transitioning into the next pose each time you inhale or exhale), you’ll warm up fairly quickly. Start with 5 or 6 repetitions and gradually build to 12 or more or set a timer starting with 3 minutes and gradually increase to 10 or more.

Alternately, try moving slowly and deliberately, and you’ll feel how the sequence becomes a sort of moving meditation. As you practice this way, center your awareness at some point in your body (such as your third eye or your heart) and challenge yourself to keep focusing there for the duration of the practice.

Moving quickly is more stimulating, while moving slowly is more calming. Whichever way you do it, the sequence can serve as either a self-contained minipractice on days when your practice time is short or a warm-up for a longer session.

Before You Begin

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Injuries can occur if you do not  have a licensed instructor present when you do these poses, especially for the first time. Leisure Living, it’s contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries. Remember to always listen to your body. Yoga isn’t about straining or pain. Also, match your breath with the poses to get the maximum effect.

The following information is taken from an article at www.yogajournal.com
WARM UP
Stand in Mountain Pose with your palms pressed together in Salutation Seal. Focus for a few minutes on the inner sun at your heart, which is the microcosmic equivalent of the outer sun at the heart of our solar system. Your inner sun represents the light of consciousness, without which nothing would exist—just as our physical world wouldn’t exist without the sun. This inner sun is often compared with the embodied Self, the jivatman or “liberated being.” You might dedicate your practice to this light.

If Sun Salutations are your warm-up for a general practice, move slowly and consciously, gradually building heat. If Sun Salutations are your whole practice, do a 2- to 5-minute Downward Dog as a warm-up.

1. Mountain Pose:  Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel to each other. Stretch your arms (but not rigidly) down alongside your torso, palms turned out, shoulders released.
2. Upward Salute:  Inhale and sweep your arms overhead in wide arcs. If your shoulders are tight, keep your hands apart and gaze straight ahead. Otherwise, bring your palms together, drop your head back, and gaze up at your thumbs.
3. Standing Forward Bend:   Exhaling, release your arms in wide arcs as you fold forward. Bend your knees if you feel pressure on your lower back and support your hands on blocks if they don’t reach the floor. Release your neck so that your head hangs heavily from your upper spine. 
4. Half Standing Forward Bend:  Inhale and push your fingertips down into the floor, straighten your elbows, then lift your front torso away from your thighs. Lengthen the front of your torso as you arch evenly along the entire length of your spine.
5. High Lunge:  Exhale and step your right foot back into a lunge. Center your left knee over the heel so that your shin is perpendicular to the floor, and bring your left thigh parallel to the floor. Firm your tailbone against your pelvis and press your right thigh up against the resistance. Inhale, reach back through your right heel. Lengthen the torso along the front of the left thigh. Look forward without strain.
6. Downward-Facing Dog Pose:  Exhale and step your left foot to Down Dog. Spread your palms and soles. Press the front of your thighs back as you press your inner hands firmly against the floor. Imagine that your torso is being stretched like a rubber band between the arms and legs.
7. Plank Pose:  Inhale and bring your torso forward until your shoulders are over your wrists. Your arms will be perpendicular to the floor. Try not to let your upper back collapse between the shoulder blades: press your outer arms inward, and then—against this resistance—spread your shoulder blades apart. Firm your tailbone against your pelvis and press your thighs up.
8. Four-Limbed Staff Pose:  Exhale as you bend your elbows and lower down to Chaturanga with your torso and legs parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders lifted up, away from the floor, and down, away from your ears. Lift the thighs away from the floor, lengthen your tailbone toward your heels, and draw the lower ribs away from the floor to avoid collapsing your lower back. Look down at the floor or slightly forward. If you can’t maintain your alignment, place your knees on the floor until you have built more strength.
9. Upward-Facing Dog Pose:Inhale, straighten your arms, and sweep your chest forward into Up Dog. Keep your legs active, firm your tailbone toward your heels, and press your front thighs upward. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Look straight ahead or look slightly upward.
10. Exhale back to Down Dog:  To finish the Sun Salutation, step the right foot forward into a Lunge, then inhale into Ardha Uttanasana and exhale into Uttanasana. Inhale into Urdhva Hastasana and exhale to Tadasana. Observe your body and breath. 
After You Finish

REST DEEPLY End by devoting at least 20 to 25 percent of your total practice time to Corpse Pose.

By Richard Rosen
www.yogajournal.com

*Disclaimer: As with any exercise regimen, consult your doctor or physician before you start. Make sure that you have adequate instructions about how to do these poses before you do them. Leisure Living, it’s contributors, or listed resources are not responsible for any injuries.