Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Stretch For Sewists #16 - Caterpillar

Here we are at the end of January, and everyone seems to be saying, "Wow, how did that happen?" Well, it did and it's time for a Sunday stretch and this one is a good 'un. 
This is a teaser for another post, but the geese here, which are called Migrating Geese, flow, much like a caterpillar, across a quilt, don't they?!

Caterpillar is a bit deeper of a forward bend than Butterfly which we did last month.  It's basically the Dangling Pose done sitting down; in fact, if you suffer from high blood pressure, then you want to avoid Dangling Pose and do Caterpillar instead.

Remember these poses are given to you here as Yin poses, not as Yang poses which are active, use-your-muscles poses.  So enter slowly, listening to your breath, which is supposed to be slow, calm and steady, matching your inhales to exhales, and relaxing as much as you can.  I also refer to The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clark as well as to his website, yinyoga.com and also to Insight Yoga by Sarah Powers.

Caterpillar

This will tug nicely along the ligaments of your spine, while compressing the stomach organs, which helps with digestion. Because of the stretch along your back, you are stimulating your kidneys.  Leaning forward also massages your heart.

Begin by sitting on a cushion or a folded up quilt as I am, on the floor, legs straight in front of you.

Lean forward, letting your back round, if it's okay for your back.  If not, then don't; simply lean from the hips, as I am here, keeping your tummy pulled in to protect your low back.  You can keep your head in line with your spine if you have neck issues.  We elevate the hips because we want the hips to rotate forward.  Because we rarely live on the floor in the West, our hips tend to tilt backward, creating tight hamstrings, and making it very difficult to do forward bends.  This pose can also aggravate sciatica, so that is a second reason to elevate your hips.  Notice I am sitting on the edge of the quilt.  If you feel your sit bones right on the edge, almost as if you are going to slip off, this is perfect for helping to forward tilt that pelvis.

Breathe in and out slowly  through your nose, maybe to a count of 3 or 4.

If you keep relaxing, you may find you start to go further forward...
...letting your head go too, if it's okay for your neck.  This does give a lovely tug on the vertebrae in your neck!  Don't pull; let gravity take you forward.  You may wonder why we round in Yin; many yoga classes insist on doing forward bends with a flat back.  Not so here, and the benefit is that you will get a better, longer stretch along the back of your vertebrae. Think of the shortest distance between to points: a straight line, right?  So curving that line is longer, which translates to more tug along the back of your vertebrae.  Also allowing the rounding allows your muscles to relax which is what we want in Yin.

If it's too intense on the backs of your knees, try rolling up the quilt and placing it behind your knees, or getting a second one and rolling it up so you can still elevate the hips.

This takes the pressure off the backs of the knees, so you can continue to relax and not be thinking, 'Ow! Ow!'  Remember we want to feel tugging, but not so intense that we cannot get our mind off it, and never pain.

Hold for 3 -5 minutes or more if you like.  Close your eyes. You may be surprised at how far you get as you feel your body letting go with the breath.

See how relaxed my arms and feet are though, no effort; surrender.  Yes! I had to keep my hoodie on today as it's not warm out, and overcast.  A good day to stay inside and sew right?  Which I have been doing, which is why this post is out much later than it could be. 😉

This pose pulls along the entire back body, right from your heels, along your hamstrings, and along both sides of your spine to the base of your skull.  It is the line of the Urinary Bladder Meridian, the longest meridian in the body with 67 acupressure points.  Bernie Clark says this helps strengthen the organs of digestion through compression of the stomach organs, and Paul Grilley says this pose is excellent for balancing Chi (energy) flow and as a preparation for meditation.

To come out, slowly sit back up again, and remain in the L-shape, breathing slowly while you are aware of, and enjoy, the rush of the blood and chi within the blood as it flows back into those compressed areas.  This both removes toxins from and nourishes these areas.  If you feel this isn't enough of a release, maybe lie down on your stomach for a few breaths.  Slowly get back up and go back to your machine!
Ahhh!

If you'd like another ahhh! Check this out:
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Yep, this is Suburbia, a purchase I made at Craftsy this weekend, and at $42.90US or $56.91CA for 6 yards of fabric, it was a screaming good deal IMHO.  There is yardage ($5.50US/$7.30CA) to be had too, just sayin'...There are LOTS more good deals to be had and hundreds of classes under $20 too remember.  Once I try out their new Boundless Botanicals fabric, I will let you know what I think.  In the photos it looks divine. (Note that the links in this paragraph are affiliate links.)

One last reminder, if you are one of those bit-by-a-squirrel, diverted-by-a-shiny-bauble quilters who found yourself diverted this past month by an attractive quilt project, I have the linky party for you!  Check out my previous post here.  Warning: visiting the other links in that post may lead to more DrEAMi! moments...




7 comments:

  1. I've never seen geese laid out like before. I like it!!

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  2. Thanks for sharing the stretch. I'm looking for some ways to deal with stiffness, that looks like a good place to start.

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  3. Good for you, putting your completed RSC Spinning Stars to work on the yoga mat!!

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  4. Oh ! That was wonderful ! Thankyou and I love your quilting too :)

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