Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #3

I am in an Ashtanga yoga workshop all weekend, Friday-Sunday, with David Robson from Ashtanga Yoga Centre Toronto.  He is AMAZING.  I am totally wiped out, and I've only done 3 of the 5 sessions for the weekend...

My daughter Dayna took some photos of me Saturday at her house for some of the poses and stretches I want to share with you specifically for the long hours we spend hunched over our machines, so I now have material for 3 Sunday Stretch posts!

While I'm sweating my butt off Sunday during workshops, you can read about a great pose you might already know.  Then stop reading!  Go do it!

Here we go:

This is Cowface Arms aka Gomukhasana pose.  Take yourself to the floor first of all!  You know I've said how good just sitting on the floor is for our hips.  You can sit in a loose cross-legged position as I did here, or tighter, or half lotus or full lotus.  Heck, put the soles of your feet together and let the knees fall apart if you like for a lovely outward rotation in the hip joint, known as Butterfly in Yin, or Baddha Konasana.  Remember "asana" just means "pose" in Sanskrit. Please excuse the somewhat wet hair; I'd just got out of the shower.

Take a belt, a strap, a tie, or a piece of fabric selvage in your right hand (wink) and drop it down your back.  Reach around with your left arm, grabbing onto the strap.  Breathing steadily and slowly to a count of 3 or 4, start to work your hands closer together, lifting your right elbow into the air and keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
You may not need a strap.  If so grab fingertips.
After you've held the stretch for about 30 seconds, look up at your right raised elbow.  Stay here for a 30-45 seconds, breathing steadily.  Listen to your breath.  It should be calm.  Back off if you're huffing and puffing. Bernie Clark says you want to feel sensation, but don't make it sensational!

Then look down towards the left elbow that you cannot see, still steadily and calmly breathing.  Enjoy this intense tug and pull, examining, as you breathe, where exactly you are feeling sensations.  Send your breath to those areas.  That will increase the blood flow there, which increases healing, noursishes that area with your oxygen-rich blood, as well as helps to remove toxins with this increased blood flow.

Release the strap or your fingers after 1-2 minutes (you may need to work up to two minutes, no worries) and s-l-o-w-l-y undo your arms, imagining there are two walls crushing into your sides, so put the palms up and push those imaginary walls apart, engaging all the muscles in your arms as you do so.  Shake the arms gently.  Repeat on the other side.

This is wonderful for the neck and shoulders and arms. :-)

I had company when I did my Yin practice Friday morning.
This was what I saw as I came out of savasana, corpse pose, which is our final resting pose after a practice.  Mine should be called dog-asana right?! Yes, that is Wings!  It is one of Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza quilts.  Although it is not quite done, I wanted to try out the Minkee backing.  Ahhhh.  Divine!  No, it's not finished yet; some tweaking needed on the quilting, and then binding.  Yep, Avril and I are on good terms once more.


  1. I tried these stretches as I read your post. I am amazingly stiff. I'm going to try this more. I really think it helped by sciatic issues. Thanks for the post.

  2. "You may not need a strap" . . . I don't think I can find one long enough!! This is one stretch that I have never been able to advance to the point of being able to grasp my hands together. . . Thanks for the reminder, this is a great one for breaks from all of the quilting I've been doing. . . I need to chillax those shoulders more, so tense!! :)

    ROCCO :D That face!!

  3. Shoulder work is just what I need. They're a wee bit tight these days. Thanks for the lesson :)

  4. Enjoy the rest of the workshop!

    Ohhh, Rocco ❤

  5. Thanks for sharing. I know I need to stretch a lot more than I do. Rocco looks comfy snuggled up to that lovely quilt...I can't wait to see it all!

  6. I love this stretch but have never turned to look at my elbows... I will definitely be giving this a go!

  7. This sounds like a great stretch. Will have to give it a try. Hope you had a great time at your yoga weekend.

  8. I really need to loosen up. Occasionally I go for a massages and I'm always told his stiff my ahoukders and back are .

  9. Thanks for sharing these Sandra. Like everyone I need to stretch the arms and shoulders. Partially from sewing but also from my job. Thanks for making this so accessible.

  10. I just tried it and it felt so good. Thanks! And I am so looking forward to seeing more of your minky backed quilt.

  11. Just reading your post and seeing the pictures really relaxed me, It was just great to imagine stretching considering my arm is in a huge cast right now.

  12. Aw Man! Sandra you have found your calling for us quilting bloggers! I was just telling Kaitie how you do these posts. She just began Yoga classes for pregnancy.
    LOL - Judy's comment really cracked me up because I thought the same this regarding the strap length. Goodness i would need a foot long one at least.