Posted by Ellen Sichel on December 12, 2011
We spend a lot of time sitting, particularly when we are on the computer. We get lost in our work until the discomfort in our back gets our attention. Sitting for long periods of time strains your back, neck and shoulders.
It is important to take a break and stretch out with your spine going in a different direction from how you were sitting.
A gentle yoga stretch, rather than using force and effort will allow your muscles to release. There are many stretches and this one is convenient, easy to do and quite effective.
- Sit sideways on your chair with your feet under your knees. An armless chair or one with low arms works the best.
- Bring your hands on either side of the chair back or sides.
- Lengthen you spine using your arms and allow it to relax. Level your shoulders and use your arms to twist.
- You will twist in the direction of the chair back
- Twist from the bottom up. First, twist your stomach and waist, then your ribs, then shoulders, and finally your neck and head (do not strain).
- Use your arms to twist and allow your spine to relax. Take a few breaths and then come out slowly.
Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you. Were you able to do it without force? How did your body feel after?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on April 18, 2011
I taught a sleep workshop the other day and the recurring theme was the inability to shut off thoughts. It seems to be an epidemic stemming from our busy, stressed out lives.
Many use medications to help with this problem, and even if they help they produce side effects.
It is a vicious cycle- less sleep at night, less energy during the day.
The twist below has many benefits:
- Calms the nervous system.
- Massages your internal organs, increasing the blood and oxygen supply
- Lengthens and twists the spine.
- Turn off the television and computer and try some bed yoga. It is a simple twist and the benefits are:
- Lie on your back with your head level, and bring your knees to your chest.
- Hold your knees and roll over to the right side, keeping your knees bent at a right angle and let them rest on the bed.
- Slide your left hand to your waist and allow your elbow to rest back, creating a gentle twist to your spine. You can lengthen your arm out beside you, if that is comfortable. If your knees come apart, put a pillow between them.
- Your head will turn toward the right side.
- Stay here for 2-4 minutes noticing your breath, and then do other side.
*If this in any way hurts, come out of pose.
Let me know in the comments below how this works for you. Were you more relaxed going to sleep? Was your mind quieter? If it did not help, what do you think happened?