Welcome back to Yoga for Artists. Please begin with the information and background you can find on the posts for Into to yoga http://stuartngbooks.blogspot.com/2015/04/yoga-for-artists-introduction-art.html
and Yoga Lesson #1 http://stuartngbooks.blogspot.com/2015/04/yoga-for-artists-lesson-1-releases-for.html
Thanks again to certified Yoga instructor Simone Market for sharing these stretches with us. More on Simone via these links: http://harmonyyoga.com/instructors?trainer_id=61 Lots of good info on Simone's Facebook page...https://www.facebook.com/simonemarket
For Lesson #2, Simone demonstrates more upper body stretches.
1) SHOULDER STRETCH SEATED IN CHAIR
Try to use a chair where the back of the chair is stable and at a comfortable height to support your arms behind you. A folding chair is good for this... as the back of the chair it not too high for most students.
Sit on the chair, with your sit bones on the edge of the seat. Clasp hands behind you and interlace fingers. BREATHE into this stretch.
If you are flexible enough, try to rotate your shoulders back and forth. Remain seated on the front edge of the seat. Your hips stay in place .. you are rotating the shoulders, not scooting back and forth on the seat.
If your shoulders are too tight to allow you to do the stretch while seated on the chair, try using a yoga block, pillows or other support between yourself and the chair seat. This will lift your hips to make the stretch possible. As you practice the stretch.. you will get more limber in your shoulders.. and over time you will be able to remove the props. This will also allow you to see and feel your progress!
2) SHOULDER STRETCH AGAINST THE WALL
Here are two ways to use a wall to open the shoulder area
a) HAND AND FOREARM FLAT
Position your right forearm flat on the wall.
On your INHALE, relax the stretch...
2 b) HAND ON WALL, ARM EXTENDED
For this 2nd part of the stretch, step completely forward so the arm is fully extended. The hand stays flat and will slide down the wall a bit. Repeat the INHALE relax... EXHALE stretch... reps as above.
3) ARM STRETCH ACROSS CHEST
A good counter stretch to follow the sequence above.
Extended your left arm straight, then cross it in front of you across your chest.
Scoop your right arm up under the left, hooking your right elbow under the left elbow.
Keep both arms at or near shoulder height.
On your EXHALE.. Use your right arm to gently stretch your left arm and shoulder to the right.
INHALE to relax this stretch.
Start with 3-5 reps.
Repeat sequence with right arm across chest and left arm underneath.
YOGA BLOCKS FOR A CHEST AND UPPER BODY OPENER....
Yoga blocks can be purchased at sporting goods stores... as well as department stores like Target and TJ Maxx. A small foam pad like the "ratpad" below is also handy to have for cushioning joints.
Photo below shows how the blocks should look once you are correctly positioned on them for this stretch.
Once you are positioned on the blocks. stretch your arms out wide at your sides.
In this stretch.. the blocks are supporting your head and chest. The elevation and gravity allow you to stretch, relax and open up the chest and shoulder area.
REST AND RESTORE -- IT'S PART OF YOUR PRACTICE!
Restorative positions like this are an important part of your yoga practice.
Artists and other self-employed folks get plenty of practice being STRESSED. You need to undo all that tension with some relaxation.
Take care of your body.. so you can continue to do the work you care about.
If these sessions are helpful to you .. please share them! Simone is sharing these gifts with the artist community. Sharing these posts is a great way to pay this gift forward. Another option --- donating time or contributions to a charity. Here's one that Simone and I are both big fans of: http://www.heifer.org/
Be well! Be strong for yourself and others who need you (and your art :)
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