Sew and Flow: yoga stretches for sewists
I’m so excited to welcome my friend Kirsten, whose yoga studio, Yoga Culture is located in my hometown in the Pacific Northwest to the blog today! I knew the first time I stepped into her yoga community that I was in the right spot. She now offers online classes as well as in person and is so welcoming to everyone – no matter if you’ve never practiced yoga before or are a seasoned yogi. I always leave her classes feeling like a new woman!
She so graciously made a “Sew and Flow” yoga routine specifically designed for us sewists. I’ll turn it over to her:
I am much more comfortable on my mat, contorting my body into pretzel-like positions than I am
behind a machine that makes the yoga pants I live in but recent conversations with a Dear friend and
fashionista Christine has me inspired to step off my mat and share what I know and love with those who
could be in need of some mindful movement and just overall stagnant energy syndrome (I made that
one up, but I find it to be a real thing) So here goes….
Hi, my name is Kirsten and my passion is yoga. Not just the kind you see now in the mainstream but the
actual practice of living on and off your mat as one lifestyle. Do not worry, I’m not here to convert you
into some tea-drinking, mantra obsessed love & light type, I just want to share some small ways to keep
your mind and body healthy so you can keep sewing all the beautiful things.
Since you’re still reading this post I can only assume that you have always loved the online blog world or,
like a lot of us, we have learned to seek out the information that we actual want and love to learn about
and post 2020 there has never been so much content on every subject. This can be a great tool or super
overwhelming but if you are like me than you have chosen to find your passion or just a way to
mindfully spend your screen time.
What a gift to learn and be inspired to create beautiful things with the support of someone willing to guide you through the process and be motivated by fellow seamstresses on the same journey. I am inspired by Stitch Playbook from reading the intro, to the first time I turned on a machine and hemmed a simple pant leg! (also, that is pretty much the extent of my career so far).
Now you are wondering what is the Segway from sewing to stretching?? Well, it is simple. We must take
care of our machinery and since your body and mind are a big part of what it takes to create a piece of
clothing or anything that resembles wearable art, I invite you to begin just where you are with a practice
of stretching and breathing.
The entire sequence is only 11 minutes of your time and I can promise you that it will rejuvenate and refresh your energy levels in just one simple session.
I will include the exercises and some directions on how to transition in and out of them as well as some video if you need more live visuals. You will not need any props to do this and not much space is required. So just stand up, push your chair off to the side and let us begin…
- Shake it till you make it! This is an entire body shake for about 2 minutes. Think of ways to
vibrate the body, move it in ways that seem silly or unconventional. The more areas that you
can get into in this short amount of time, the more benefits you will gain. Increased circulation
and clarity are just a few side effects from this type of movement.
2. Stand tall and just ground into the feet. Let the residual energy calm as you return to a natural
breath. Start to circle your arms. Reaching out to the sides(palms up) and over your head(palms
touch) on your full inhale. On your exhale bring your hands to your heart center. Then inhale
arms up and back to your sides. Repeat 3 times. Add a few neck rolls for the next 30 seconds or
3. Slowly inhale your hands over head once again and this time widen your stance on the exhale as
you squat down bringing your hips(bum) down towards the earth. We call this a Buddha squat.
Widen your knees by gently pressing your elbows into your inner thighs while keeping hands
drawn into the heart.
Pause for a few breaths and when your ready place one hand in front and one behind you and bring your bum to the ground. Slide your hands to the backs of your legs and gently bring your back down to the floor. Draw your knees to chest and give yourself a BIG hug!
Release the right sole of your foot to the earth, keeping the knee bent and take your left
ankle to the top of your right thigh. Stay here in this variation of a Figure 4 stretch or reach your
hands through and grab either just below the right knee or the back of the thigh and pull that
right knee towards your chest. Keep your spine flat from the back of your head to the tail and
breathe. Stay about 5 full breaths and switch to the other leg.
This posture will help with any low back and hip tension you may experience from sitting for a long period of time. Since the “hips don’t lie” you may need to stay in this one longer to give your low back the relief it’s asking of you.
4. Breath of Joy! This is a favorite Kriya (technique or practice to achieve a specific result) of mine.
The title speaks for itself and the aftershock will continue well beyond the movement.
3-part breath in
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Inhale and fill
up one-third of the lungs, (imagine that you’re just filling up the bottom
part) while swinging the arms up in front of you, shoulder height, palms
facing up. (Then bring arms back down)
- Inhale again (same inhalation), imagining that you’re filling up two-
thirds of your lung capacity, while swinging the arms to the sides,
shoulder height. (Then bring arms back down)
- Inhale filling up to full capacity while swinging the arms parallel along
the front all the way up, over the head, palms facing each other.
One big exhale out
One big exhale to the sound of ha, bending the knees deeply, hinging from the hips as
you allow yourself to bend forward swinging your arms down and along the sides up
These 3 steps (quick inhalations) need to be done rather quickly in a row. Repeat them
as many times as feels appropriate up to nine times You can also do this seated in a
chair if preferred.
If you become light-headed, slow down the rhythm or take a break. Don’t force your
body and avoid doing if you have high blood pressure or eye injury. As soon as the
sequence becomes familiar, allow yourself to get lost in the rhythm of the Breath of Joy
sequence. One day the rhythm will be there, another it’s a little harder work. Don’t get
discouraged. Increasing the flow of energy is a wonderful way to energize your system
and it’s great to start the day off by doing something positive for yourself.
Here’s Kirsten leading the entire sequence in video:
I sure hope you have enjoyed moving with us and I can’t wait to hear how you feel post
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