Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Stretch For Sewists #14 Dragon

When you think of dragons, do you think of the fantasy dragons à la Tolkien with their ancient knowledge and love of treasure, or do you think of Chinese dragons and their cavorting in New Year parades, bedecked in radiant colours?
Today's post is another type of dragon, Yin yoga style.  It might make you feel and see colours in your hip joints, ha, it will definitely heat you up (think dragons' fiery breath), oh yes, and it might even bring up some strong emotions much like both fantasy and Chinese dragons can do.

The above barn quilt is a new one to me. Spotted it along Heritage Road in Essex County where there are several.  Doesn't it look beautiful against the red of the barn and framed by the maple (I think) trees in all their glory?
I zoomed in to see the pattern and beautiful colours of both the block and the trees!  It is a huge block; that's a full-size door beside it!
Now that I've planted a pleasant image or two in your mind, let's take a look at this month's Yin pose.

Dragon Pose

This particular pose can help to relieve sciatica.  It also will help you tremendously in your backbends, as it tugs on the front of the hip joints.  When you think about what a backbend looks like, bring your mind to the hip joints and you will immediately realize the importance of lengthening the ligaments in the front of those joints!  This also is a lovely stretch for the quadriceps, actually for the fascial bag that encases the quadriceps. There are many variations of the dragon pose; I will take you through three.  Hold each one for one minute.

To get into the pose the easiest way is to come to all fours on your mat.  Alternatively, you can step into it from Down Dog.

Step your right foot forward, placing it where you right hand is.  Help it ahead if need be, stacking your joints so that your ankle is under your knee.  Place one hand on either side of that leg, resting on your fingertips.  Slide your left leg back, back, coming to rest on the top of the foot, until you feel a very strong tug through the groins and the front of the left hip.  You might also feel a pretty strong compression in the front of the right hip. 
In the beginning, your left leg might be at more of a right angle than shown here; that's okay! When was the last time you attempted doing a kind of partial splits shape like this?!  So go easy.  "You want sensation, but don't make it sensational!" to quote Bernie Clark.  Relax your legs.  Close your eyes.  Breathe slowly and steadily in and out through the nose.

If it is too much to rest on your fingertips for the entire minute, go to fists, or flat hands.  Use blocks under your hands, or books if you struggle to reach the floor.  If you change hand position, note that the quads will kick in to help support you; consciously relax them, so you get deep into the hip joint, into the connective tissue, the ligaments, tendons, not the muscles.

After one minute, come upright with your torso, resting both hands just above your knee.  This is why you want to have a quilt doubled up under your knees as I have, since there is a fair amount of pressure on the left knee here.

Try to sink down into the groins; this is pretty intense as the weight of the torso puts a lot of pressure here.  If you have too much pressure on your left knee even with a quilt there, put a cushion under it.  Gaze at the ground in front of you.  Hold for one minute.

Inhale, and on your exhale bring both hands to your mat inside your right leg.  Lower down onto your forearms, resting on your mat or if that is too low, then on a block or a book

If this is too much in the beginning, then keep both hands inside that right leg, simply bending your arms slightly as you lower your torso a little.  Hold for one minute.  I set my phone timer for 3 minutes and place it where I can easily see it, so I can change every minute through the three variations.

For a wonderful but more advanced variation, twist your torso towards the right leg, looking to the sky.  Place your right hand against the inside of the knee and gently push it away from you, letting your foot come to rest on the side edge.  You can stay here one minute, breathing slowly and steadily in and out through your nose.
When you are done 2 or 3 or all 4 variations, tuck your back toes under, push into your right foot, lifting your hips up and back, straightening the right leg, leaning over it.  This is called half splits.  Take several breaths here, enjoying the warmth/coolness/tingling sensations as the blood rushes back into the compressed areas, removing toxins in much the same way a deep tissue massage does.  Alternatively, push up and back, but step back to a most delicious downward facing dog again.  After several breaths in down dog or half splits, rest back in child's pose before doing the other side.

One last quilt photo for you! Sunday Stash is today, and I finally finally redeemed my winnings from Fluffy Sheep Quilting for Scraptastic Tuesday from several months back.  Cindy was unbelievably kind to let me redeem my certificate after forgetting/remembering/forgetting for such a while.  Helen of Midget Gem Quilts put me on to her Skinny as Helen would say, it would be rude to just buy one, right?  These two pretty lengths arrived this past week:
Woo hoo!

Remember to read my previous post for the Autumn Abundance Blog Hop (that link will take you to Bernie's site where you can get the links to all the posts, giveeways at each one) as I have two giveaway prizes up for grabs.  The draw ends tonight and I will announce the winners tomorrow below this paragraph. Speaking of grabbing, you may want to grab yourself a Craftsy class or two; they are all on for less than $20 this weekend.  Click the button on the sidebar to have a look. :-)

Update Monday morning.  From 160 comments (wow!) Mr. Random Generator picked...

1.  The little button basket:

Kelli at Seriously I Think It Needs Stitches  Isn't that a great blog name? And yep she's a RN.

2. The fabric charms, label and selvages:
Both winners have been contacted.  Sadly, for each draw I had to draw twice because of no-reply bloggers.  However, yay, in that there were loads of no-reply bloggers and the majority wrote their email address within their comment. :-)

Thank you again for all the comment love and looks like we may have a QAL in 2017. 


  1. I'll come back to this one. Thanks Sandra!

  2. Oh, yeah, yeah, this one looks like it feels good! Congrats to your winners! Enjoy your week! XO

  3. I do these poses in my head , I really do
    Dragons - I would have to say Tolkien every time

  4. Weird.....I commented on this post dayyyys ago bit it's not showing! I said "not THIS Linda I guess" (the winner lol).