3 WAYS TO DO DOWNWARD FACING DOG IN A CHAIR

I once heard a yoga instructor of mine call downward facing dog a "resting pose." Ha! I beg to differ. This pose is an energizing pose and is very physically demanding for the upper body. It strengthens the arms, shoulders and core muscles while lengthening the spine and stretching the hamstrings. It tones the digestive organs, and when done with the head supported, this pose can also relieve headaches and menstrual discomfort.

These chair variations are incredibly helpful if you have sensitive wrists, upper body weakness, headaches, dizziness, or balance issues. 

The first two standing variations are pretty similar, but the first one will give you more of an upper body stretch. The second variation, gives you a lower body stretch while allowing you to rest your head. This variation is especially beneficial for headaches.

The third chair variation allows you to support your entire body weight on the chair. You don't have to worry about balance at all, but you still get the benefits of the upper body stretch, lower back pain relief and benefits for the digestive system.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Spoonie Yoga Tribe members can get personalized feedback on their yoga poses as one of the perks of membership. For more info, click here.

2 NEW WAYS TO DO SEATED FORWARD BEND (PASCHIMOTTANASANA)

Contrary to popular belief, Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) is not about touching your toes or being able to tap your knees with your nose. It's actually about creating length, as much length as you possibly can, in your spine and in your hamstrings. There are so many different ways to modify this pose. You can check out some seated modifications here, but in today's post, I want to show you a couple new ways to get creative with this pose so that you can experience the best and most comfortable stretch for your body.

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Paschimottanasana comes with so many benefits, including:

  • massaging the internal organs and improving digestion
  • relieving lower back pain
  • soothing the nervous system
  • stretching the hamstrings and spine

If you're a chronic pain warrior, getting down to the floor to practice this pose may not be a possibility. You could opt to practice this pose in bed, which is a super gentle and restorative option. Or you could practice this pose in a chair for a more energetic practice...

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HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA IN A CHAIR

To practice this variation, sit at the edge of a chair with the legs extended in front of you. The feet should be flexed, toes pointed toward the ceiling. You can rest your hands on your thighs or on two blocks. Sit up tall, lengthen the crown of your head away from your tail bone. Tilt your pelvis forward and pull the low belly in to protect your lower back and create additional length in your hamstrings. Keep your neck neutral. Shoulders away from your ears. Hold for ten deep breaths.

If you're struggling with symptoms that make it hard for you to sit upright, you could opt for a supine variation instead...

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HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA LYING DOWN

For this variation, you will need a yoga strap. To come into this pose, lie flat on your back with your strap at the ready. Bend your knees into your chest and lasso both feet with your strap. Begin to extend your legs and reach the heels toward the sky. Make sure that your strap is long enough so that when you extend your legs, you can still keep your shoulder blades and elbows glued to the mat. This will prevent you from straining your neck. If there is a bend in your knees here, that's okay! 

Take ten deep breaths here and then release the hold. 

HOW DID IT GO?

If you tried either of these variations, I'd love to know how it went for you! Tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #spoonieyogatribe in your photos for a chance to be featured on my page! 

 

3 YOGA POSES FOR FATIGUE

I saw a meme recently that said "I feel like a sloth on ambien." Ha! How many of us can relate to this? I wonder if the person who made it is a Spoonie. I wonder if they know how accurately they've described what it is like to live every day with fatigue, feeling like you're dragging yourself through life.

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I think that fatigue is a symptom that most of us have on our list, regardless of our diagnosis. Fatigue has been my most stubborn chronic illness symptoms, and one of the most debilitating. I feel like there can be many flavors of fatigue, and they all interact with the body differently. The fatigue we experience when we over-exert ourselves is obvious. That flavor of fatigue is easy to distinguish, but there are so many others! Before I had chronic illness, I never imagined that it would be possible to get fatigued from lying in bed. Oh, but it is possible! And I feel like this kind of fatigue sits in the body differently. 

The poses I'll be sharing with you today can help relieve our fatigue, regardless of which flavor we may be experiencing in the moment. These poses can be practiced all together or individually, whatever you feel up to today.

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1. MALASANA - GARLAND POSE

For the traditional expression of Malasana, you'll come into a squat with the toes turned outward and the hands together at your heart. Using a block under the hips here can be helpful for people with tight hips and also for people with hypermobile hips. It also helps you to keep your balance and take some pressure off of the ankles.

You can also modify this pose with a chair, or if you're feeling particularly fatigued, you can do the pose lying down on your back with the knees hugged into your chest. Please watch the video below for visual instructions.

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2. MATSYENDRASANA - SEATED TWIST

Our next pose is a seated twist for just a few breaths on each side. This can be done in whatever comfortable seated position feels good to you. It can also be done in a chair with the feet flat on the floor. This pose releases tension and opens the chest, which allows us to take deep breaths. This can be a tremendous help when we feel fatigued. 

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3. BALASANA - CHILD'S POSE

Finally, we have child's pose. My favorite way to do this pose is with a bolster and with a cushion under my hips. Sometimes I fall asleep like this!

If you have sensitive knees, you can try this pose with your entire torso on top of the bolster, your head resting on a block, and your legs extended behind you. You will get the same benefits of the pose with less stress on the knees. You can hold this pose for as long as you'd like.

Please watch the video below for visual instructions for each pose. 

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