Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #17 - Dragonfly Variations

First please accept my apologies if I don't respond in a timely manner to your comments on my last post...eeep! where I was published in Modern by the Yard.  We are on the road for a few days here, heading back home so I have limited access to wifi.

Last month we did Dragonfly. At the end of the post I said I'd give some variations on it for this month, variations that feel SO GOOD after hours in a car, ha, or at your machine.

Dragonfly Variations

Sit as we did before, resting your sit bones on a quilt to elevate your hips and help tilt your pelvis forward.  Check this post for more detail.  Rmember you do not have to have your legs straight; you can bend your knees as much as you need to.

Variation #1 Upright twist

A twist is one of the best favours you can do for your spine.  Twists release tension.  Orient your body over your right leg, inhaling as you twist.  Place one hand on either side of your thigh, and turn your head, looking over your right shoulder. You can make this an eye exercise by looking as far as you can out of the corner of your eye.  Then let your eyes fall softly shut and relax into the twist; don't pull; find the 'yin-side' (get it?!) of the twist.

Remember we are concentrating on working our connective tissues, not the muscles, so feel and enjoy that tug.  Where is it? How does it differ along the length of your spine?  the sides of your waist? your hips?  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Hold here for 1.5 - 2 minutes.

Inhale as you unwind coming back to centre.  Exhale.  Inhale as you twist now to the left.

You can keep your hands on either side of your thigh or you might like to wrap your right arm behind your waist as you twist to the right, placing your left hand on the outer edge of your thigh.  This is taking the twist a bit deeper; as long as you aren't using muscles to pull or push yourself further into a twist, then you might like this.

Variation #2 Side bend

Once again inhale, first of all lengthening along both sides of your spine.  Then start to bend to the right, feeling how the connective tissues are getting a lovely stretch all along your left side.  Think of bringing your ear to your shoulder, and notice how this brings a great stretch along the side of your neck.  You can wrap your left arm behind your waist.  Your right arm rests just inside your right leg, either on the floor or on a block.

Alternatively, you may like to rest your left arm on the side of your head, as shown below.  This gets nicely into the triceps and underarm, and is very good for the lymph nodes.

Remember your breath, counting to 3 or 4, even inhales and exhales.  Relax as you exhale, not forcing your arms lower, just letting gravity have you.
Come up on an inhale.  Exhale.  Take another inhale and exhale in the centre if you need to, noting the sensations.  Then repeat on the left side.

Variation #3 Chest Expander
A final incredible stretch for the shoulders and arms, and probably a favourite of mine, is chest expander.  You can do it standing upright, lifting your arms away from your spine, but I like to add the forward bend with my legs apart.
I had a coach during these photos!

Clasp your fingers behind your sacrum (low back) and lift your arms up and away from your spine.  If you are doing it as I am here, then gravity does pull in a most delicious way on your arms.  As Kino MacGregor says, "Don't fight with your body."  I like to say let gravity do the work.  You just need to breathe.  This one isn't a Yin pose but it sure is a good 'un!  Hold here for 5-10 breaths, and come up slowly on an inhale.  I love this stretch; I have been known to do this upon getting out of a vehicle after a several-hour stint of travelling, much to the embarrassment of my family...😂's a shot I put on Instagram.  You know I have a thing, a profound thing, for trees, and I love quilts in trees.  Well, as MacGyver said, "We drove an extra 80 miles for a freaking tree..." with a wink at me, and yep we did.  Not just any tree.  This tree.

This is the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  It is truly wonderful, awesome, breath-taking.  The things this tree has witnessed, sheltered, housed, the air it has cleaned over the centuries, give pause for reflection.  That it has withstood 400-500 years of weather, humans, pests, human pests, ha, boggles the mind.  It was quite the zen moment to be able to see it and take in some of its majesty, wisdom and just 'being'.

A note about the DrEAMi! linky: it is the last Saturday of the month, which was yesterday, but since A) I am travelling and B) there are another 6 days left in the month, I will have the linky next Saturday, April 1.  If you are new here and wondering what the heck is a DrEAMi! then click here.


  1. Thank you Sandra for reminding us to take care of ourselves! Hehe, I couldn't do these so it's really time to start! x Teje

  2. I always love your pose descriptions. It really helps me when I know why I am moving a certain way and what it is supposed to feel like. You are a fantastic instructor. :)

  3. Gotta say again my dear sister, that tree is phenomenal ❤

  4. And this tree must be so popular with artists, judging by all the easels set up.Safe travels, but have those great stop-overs along the way. Freefall cutting going slowly, 20 leaves are done, slightly difficult while balancing on crutches!!!

  5. Wow you are bendy!!! My drug of choice is Weight lifting personally.

  6. I love your new tree and I'm doing the stretches in my head , honestly

  7. Absolutely amazing tree! I love trees very much ...