Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #12 - Swan

Swan pose works strongly into one hip socket in one way, and fairly strongly into the other but in a different way.  Therefore be sure to do both sides. :-)

To get into the pose in the easiest way, come onto all fours.  Slide your right knee up behind your right wrist.  Start to swivel the right foot up towards the left wrist, still supporting yourself on your hands. See how the knee feels.  If there is pain here, then do not do this pose; stay tuned for September when I show you Eye of the Needle.

If your knee is okay, then start to creep your left leg back, looking back to ensure it is straight behind you, and coming to rest on the top of your foot.  If your bum is not in contact with the mat, sit that butt cheek on a block (or a couple of quilt books!) so that your hips are level.
Place your hands as shown, or rest both in front of your shin.  Try to think about bringing that shin parallel to the top edge of your mat, sending the knee to the side of your hip.  Flex that right foot gently to protect the knee joint.  Don't sit on your foot; that is pigeon pose, which doesn't have the outward rotation we are looking for in the hip joint. It is not necessary to have your shin parallel; especially in the beginning it is more difficult, so work towards that, but never forcing.  Alternatively, if the block is too high, you may use a folded up quilt under your butt cheek:
note the dog foot, Naala, photo-bombing me! Didn't have the heart to crop it out.
If your butt cheek rests comfortably on your mat and your hips are level, then stay there and breathe.
Hold for 1 minute, maybe working up to 2 over time, breathing slowly in and out through your nose.  You can place your hands further back, as you see in the above photo, which will increase the arch in your low back.  This is a bit of a back bend.

Next, on an exhale, slowly come down to Sleeping Swan.  Take your time getting to the floor...
maybe resting at first on your forearms as shown.  Notice the legs haven't moved.
Perhaps eventually resting your forehead on your stacked hands or on your forearms.  Finally maybe extending your arms in front, palms down, forehead on the floor:
or placing the palms together in prayer if you like.
Stay here for a total of 3 minutes (use that timer on your phone!) starting from the time you start to lie down, breathing in and out through your nose maybe to the count of 3 or 4, relaxing everything as your 'marinate' your hips in this pose.

To come out, inhale slowly back up, remove the prop under the butt cheek so you can lean to that side and swing your back leg around to the front. Set both foot soles on the floor and enjoy the 'spearmint' feeling of warm/cool/buzzing/tingling feeling you get when you release out of a long-held pose.  Maybe do some slow windshield wipers movements back and forth with your bent legs.  Then do the other side!

The more we can rotate our hips in their sockets, the better health our hips will have, and the less chance of needing hip replacements down the line.  Hip and knee replacements are off the charts in the West compared to the East, because we do not live on the floor.  As I tell my yoga students from time to time, spend 5 minutes a day watching the news or your favourite show, sitting cross-legged, working up to 2.5 minutes or more per side, alternating one leg in front of the other.  Your hips will thank you!

I did finish two more cow blocks.

They are so cute!  These are more of the RSC 2015, last year's colours.  I have one more to make and then a bull. Finishing this quilt is one of my Q3FAL goals.

Now that several pretty strong thunderstorms have left our area, I can get back to work on this final round of our Mini Round Robin, as well as quilting Dayna's grad quilt.  Here is the Mini Round Robin, Tish's centre:

I will let you know that I have ripped more than I have menopausal melon is malfunctioning in the math department...clearly it isn't in the alliteration department!  If you are interested in seeing the other rounds, you can click the links below to see the other 3 ongoing minis that will each be finished...uh...within 3 days! Watch for the next post to see what I did!
Round 1 - my block
Round 2 - my work on Cindy's centre
Round 3 - my work on Julie's centre

Remember to vote in the Pets On Quilts at Lilypad Quilting which closes in a few days!  You can click here to be taken to the voting page, where you leave a comment with the pets' numbers who are your faves.  Bella is tapping my arm to tell you that she is #30, and that our post is here.  You can see all the pets if you click here.  You can even win something if you didn't enter a pet, so hippety-hop on over there!


  1. Thanks for the great stretch Sandra. I love these posts. :-)

  2. I need to work on stretching, but I better start at the beginning as I can't stretch worth a darn.

  3. If I got down on the floor like that, I'd never get up again. Yikes! Love those cows.

  4. My goodness you are amazing Sandra! LOL I'm with Pat.

  5. Thanks for the stretch. Funny that you should show the yoga stretch and the cow block together this weekend. At work on Saturday, someone brought up fabric to be cut that I had not noticed before (with about 10000 bolts, there are a few I've missed!. I thought of you. It was farm animals in yoga poses :)

  6. How does your left leg bend like that ? I'm just not that flexible . I do like your cows though

  7. My yoga instructors have always called this pigeon pose... I am going to go read up on that more. But a perfectly timed post. After hiking 15+ miles on steep terrain the past few days, this is going to feel great!

  8. Thanks for that - 3 minutes is longer that I ever stretch for so will try longer next time. Love the cows!