Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #15 - Butterfly

Merry Christmas!
Today's pose is Butterfly, a wonderful one for your hips and low back, a very gentle pose for this last stretch of the year.
I took that back in July. It is one of my favourite shots of all time.  Think of this Monarch butterfly's gorgeous wings when you are in this pose.


This is a very gentle decompression for your low back, and a great hip opener.  Many Yin yoga flows begin with this pose.  In the beginning, use blocks or cushions under the sides of your thighs to support your legs if it pulls too intensely on your hips.  Remember you do want a tugging feeling though; that means you are starting to lengthen the connective tissues, which will lead to more freedom of movement.

The beauty of this pose is that you can do it sitting your couch, a suggestion by one of my 70-year-old yoga students. 😍 You don't even need to wear yoga clothes. 😉
While reading a good book, like this one, a gift from a darling friend, or while watching TV
Butterfly is similar to, but different from, Baddha Konasana in that the feet are further away from the groin.  Your legs should form a diamond shape.  Lean forward, letting your back round.  This is a lovely way to stretch the lower back without requiring loose hamstrings!
Beware of 'puddy-tats' who want to worm their way into your lap, wait, there is no lap, what's with that?!
I did these photos with the timer on my phone, so it does a 'burst' of 7-10 photos. Thought this was hilarious; the last four photos showed her emerging into the photo!

Let your hands rest wherever they naturally fall:  on the floor inside your legs, on your feet or outside of your feet.  Let your head hang if it is okay for your neck; otherwise keep it in line with your spine.
Notice the butterfly shape in one of the 150 Canadian Women blocks? That's your legs!
Do not pull, because you will then be engaging muscles.  In Yin we relax the muscles so that we target connective tissues, or fascia, the ligaments, the tendons, that white gristle you see in meat that we, too, have throughout our bodies.  This tightens up, or shrinks, as we age.  If we've been injured, the filaments that are naturally mostly elongated, tend to bunch up like shrunk yarn strands, and cross-weave themselves to protect the injured area.  That creates scar tissue.  These long-held poses can help to encourage the filaments to let go, to elongate, stimulating regeneration at the microscopic level, which will leave us with better blood circulation, better flexibility, better range of motion, and that, my friends, leads to a happier human, right?  I once said in a yoga class, it just popped out of my mouth, that I think politicians should practise Yin yoga!

Hold for 3 to 5 minutes or even longer.  Breathe slowly and steadily, in and out through your nose, feeling your lungs expand and contract, continuing to relax as you let gravity have you.

If you have low back issues that require you not to round, then simply lean forward from the hips, keeping your tummy pulled in and your back flat.

If you suffer from sciatica, this can aggravate it, so elevate your hips by sitting on a cushion, or a couple of cushions, until the knees are below the hips.  Bernie Clark,, says to beware of your hips rotating backward while seated; we want them to rotate forward.

If your back still doesn't like this pose, do it lying down, known as Reclined Butterfly.
Ahhh!  Feels divine!

To come out from seated Butterfly, roll up slowly, and then lean back on your hands to release your hips.  Slowly straighten each leg and enjoy that 'spearmint' feeling of hot/cold as the blood flows back into the compressed areas.  This works in the same way that massage therapy does, to remove toxins and/or blockages.  Slowly straighten each leg.  To come out from Reclined Butterfly, slowly bring or help the legs back together, roll to one side, pausing for a few breaths, and then help yourself up  and slowly straighten each leg.

It used to take about a day, I believe, in the olden days, for a group of neighbours to raise a barn on a new homesteader's place.  It took me about that to raise this barn block, from drafting it, to finished block.  It is based on Lori Holt's Barn Along of a couple of years ago and another re-drafted block from a blogger (which I spent half an hour trying to find with no luck) who was doing the Barn Along but made some changes to the roof, and then my own version of hers.  So here is my 12" version:
Cows need a barn, right?!  A Churn Dash block on the side to echo the others that will be in the quilt as well.  Purple, because that is my aunt's favourite colour.  Cats.  But of course. Keep the mice down, y'know?!

Hope you are having a most wonderful day today, doing what you love, and/or loving what you are doing!

Linking up with:
Cooking Up Quilts
Patchwork Times


  1. And the Churn Dash, symbolic, as a butter churn would have been in use so often back then. Love the 150 Canadian Women block, I haven't got to that one yet. But the new red batiks are washed and ironed, Santa was so good to drop them off on his way north. New Year's Greetings from a warm 26C in NZ.

  2. Indeed the cows need a barn, and keeping with the churn dashes in the quilt this will be a lovely quilt when done. You look so relaxed in your poses.

  3. This barn looks like the perfect home for all of the cows and Jethro! I can't wait to see this one completely pieced together and how you end up quilting it. I think you will have a finish before you know it!