Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #20 Square

Sunday Stretch on a Monday again, oops... We square our quilt blocks as we go, section by section.  Then we square our quilt tops, and after quilting, square the quilt sandwich.  Lots of squaring goes on in quilting; here's a pose called Square in Yin that is one of the best poses for us Westerners.

I did these photos again using my timer on my phone. I am not in yoga clothes because I wanted to show you that you don't have to be in order to do these poses.  Just hop out of your sewing chair, and take a few minutes to tug on your hip sockets, and they will thank you, as will your back if you lean or round forward.


Sit on a quilt to elevate your hips. This pose can aggravate sciatica but elevating the hips will help avoid that, as well as take a bit of pressure off the knees.

Bend in your left leg, bringing your shin parallel to your torso, and sending your knee to the left of your left hip joint, flexing your foot to protect that knee.  Ensure that your left foot is away from your right hip; we aren't keeping it close to the groin as we would for sitting cross-legged.  However. If you are feeling plenty of sensation in your hip sockets simply by sitting on the floor in cross-legged, then for now until your hips loosen up, that is your version of square!

Now bring in your right leg to match the left, squaring this shin to line up parallel to the left and to your torso, sending the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Flex the right foot.
See how my feet are by my knees, not by my hips?
Look down.  You should see a triangle shape formed, the point being your groin and the base being the calf of the left leg.  Both lower limbs are 'squared' to your torso, as in parallel to it, and both feet are several inches, depending on your knee health, away from your hips.

If this doesn't pull much in the hips, then try the full expression of the pose.  Bring your right leg on top of your left, aligning the right knee over the left ankle, and the right ankle resting on the side of the left knee.  If there is a lot of space between the right knee and left ankle, use a block between to rest your knee.
Yep, I am feeling rather goofy doing these selfies....😝

Now lean forward, rounding if it's okay for your back, or, if it's not, keeping the tummy pulled in and leaning from the hips.   You might find as you hold and breathe and relax, that after a couple of minutes you can pull out the block, and the knee will come close to or rest on that left foot.

Hold for 3 -5 minutes.  Eventually you may end up with your head on the floor and both arms in front of you on the floor.  However, that is not the goal.  If you're feeling it, you're doing it.  This works deeply into your hip sockets, so it is intense.  Remember that you are holding for 3 minutes, so studies have shown gentler sensations held for longer give greater improvement: in healing, in mobility.

To come out, slowly rise up on an inhale, exhaling when you are all the way up, ensuring your head comes last if it was dangling forward.  Undo your legs slowly, setting the foot soles down and lean back on your hands, enjoying the 'ahhh' feeling as you come out and the blood rushes into the compressed areas.  You might like to do windshield wiper motions back and forth with your bent legs to rotate the hips in their sockets.  Then do the other side.

My first Yin teacher, Gillian, for whom I made the heart quilt, (she's still recovering, fighting hard after 2 years now from being diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer) anyhow, she always said that Square and Shoelace, which we did last month, are the two best poses for us Westerners because of our tight hips.  Why do we have such tight hips as compared to Easterners?  Because we don't live on the floor; we sit in chairs, on toilets, on couches.

Homework for the month:  watch 5-6 minutes of one of your TV shows each day sitting cross-legged.  It doesn't have to be Square, but it could.  Or Shoelace. Or just sitting cross-legged.  Do 2.5-3 minutes  each side, which means alternating the leg in front or on top.  Your hips will thank you, and hopefully you will avoid a hip replacement, the numbers of which are astronomical as compared to those in the Eastern world.

It's done!  I will post about this finish next! Had to seize a moment between showers and thunderstorms and put it on Instagram, so here it is for my readers.


  1. That burgundy is a great colour to go with the patterned pieces. Your heart quilt, beautiful, full of love and care,

  2. Beautiful finish! The burgundy really plays nicely with all those scraps. Thank you for the suggested quilters stretch. I really should do more of that when I'm sewing.

  3. thanks for the lesson...I am tight in the hips for sure...lovely lovely quilt--I can seee= the pretty deep red in this shot...hugs, Julierose

  4. I shall except your challenge of doing this pose twice a day. Maybe first thing in the morning and before bed? Wonder how many cats will end up either in my lap or on my back?

  5. I don't know where I got this, but I thought I might have been told this was "cow facing" legs at some point. I am definitely going to be doing this later today. Thank you as always for the list of options on how to modify the pose.

  6. I think this is one I might try . I do spend a lot of time sitting , far too sedentary these days

  7. Love your red/burgundy with the scraps. It's a winner!

  8. Gotta try this! I have bursitis on right hip and it is driving me crazy!

  9. I'm sure such a lot of work went into this quilt, beautiful!

  10. This is such a delightful quilt. It would be the perfect way to use up the 2" squares I've been accumulating.
    Thanks for the Yoga lesson; I'm going to try it, but as I've had my left hip replaced last year I'm going to take it gently. However before my hip started playing up this was one of my regular exercises