Yoga Poses for Writing (or Reading) Breaks: Part II
Whether you’re back at your desk after a writing hiatus, or trying your best to squeeze in reading time, make sure your routine includes some #selfcare.
Here are a few (more) of my favorite yoga poses to rest my mind and body and keep myself centered. If you’re feeling ambitious (or just extra-stiff), you can always stack the poses in Parts I & II together for a more comprehensive sequence. (Disclaimer: Though I practice yoga regularly, I am neither a certified instructor nor health professional. Be sure to consult with an expert to ensure proper form and prevent injury.)
When you’re sitting all day, your hip flexors (the muscles that connect your pelvis to your thighs in the front of your body) are bound to tighten up, so counter-stretch them in pigeon. I like to start by kneeling on my knees, then placing one shin on the ground in front of me across my mat. Once you have your shin flat on the ground in a comfortable position, you can place both hands down flat on the floor, shift your body weight forward, and wiggle your other leg into place behind you. It should stretch out straight, flat on the ground. You may need to shift around a bit to settle into the position, keeping your weight on your hands as you work on squaring up your hips. This one can be a little tricky to get into, so any type of lunge is a good alternative if you’re not ready to twist like a pretzel. After you’ve gotten a good stretch on one side, don’t forget to repeat with your legs reversed.
Before trying an active bridge pose, I like to spend some time simply lying on my back with my knees bent and feet flat on the ground. As you breathe there, engage your core and push your belly button inward, straightening your back so your whole spine connects to the floor. You should feel your lower spine decompress. Once you feel comfortable there, you can try moving to an active bridge: with arms pressing down by your sides and feet planted firmly on the floor, engage your core and your glutes and thrust your hips up in the air. Hold for a moment at the top of the pose, then breathe out as you bring your hips down to the ground.
Happy Baby Pose
While lying on your back, hug both knees into you chest. You may want to start by rocking side-to-side and forward-and-back here to stretch your lower back.Then, reach out your arms and grab your feet (you can grab the soles of your feet, your big toes, your ankles, or whatever’s comfortable for you). Pull on your feet to move your legs into a true Happy Baby: your goal is to bring your thighs in toward your chest, so your knees are by your armpits and the bottoms of your feet are facing the ceiling. Be sure to keep your entire spine flat on the floor all the way to your tailbone, even if it means your legs don’t stretch back as far as you’d like them to. Stay in this pose for several breaths, feeling the gentle stretching throughout your hips, pelvis, thighs, and back.
End on a pose that’s as simple as could be, and soooo relaxing. Lie face-up on the ground, letting your arms and legs splay comfortably. Close your eyes (you’ve surely been straining them all day via page or screen!) and take as many deep breaths as you need.
I hope these poses leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for another long day of reading/writing/editing! Let me know which are your favorites—or if there are any other poses you recommend Swooners try to stay limber during all their bookish endeavors.
And don't miss Part I!