Monday, April 20, 2009

And now for something completely different…

Earth week is about drawing attention to global issues and to companies that are working to make a difference. Besides developing awareness about our planet, its creatures and resources; this may also be a time to create mindfulness about what we do in our daily lives to take care of others and ourselves.

In addition to participating in Earth Week, I am also participating in something (completely different) we singers call "Hell Week" (also known as "Tech Week" by those without a potty mouth). This is the final week before a show opens when everyone is at the theatre very late, every night. It's exciting, stressful and exhausting. This week there is no time to visit the gym, no down time and barely enough sleep.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has some kind of "hell week" now and then.

My goal is to try to make it to the end of this week without becoming so stressed out and worn down that I spend all of next week eating pizza and collapsing in front of the TV. I'm actually going to try to take care of myself instead of just chucking all my good health habits and regretting it later. Imagine that!

Today's post features a whole slew of tips from YogaWorks that I received a while back. I've been saving them just for this week.

According to YogaWorks: yoga is much more than just a tool for relaxation and flexibility. Simple yoga poses can be used to combat everyday aches, pains and frustrations.

The 5 tips below come from one of YogaWorks' amazing yogis, Irina Ovsiannikov. (She is also the person in the photos). The photos are by Heather McLaughlin. (I don't know where Irina got the cute bracelet, though.)

1. Goodbye Carpal Tunnel Wrist Release
What It Does: Helps relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, tension in the wrists and palms.

How to Do it: Extend the right arm straight out in front of you. With the left hand and grasp the right top of the hand and gently press the hand toward your chest keeping your arm stretched forward. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Try to keep your spine lifted and your chest open. Repeat with the left hand.

2. Stress-Free Forward Bend
What It Does: Releases lower back and hip tension. Also stretches the back of the legs and helps relieve stress when the hip is higher then the heart.

How to Do it: Face away from your table and bring your hips on to the edge of the table top. Step your feet wide apart (hip distance or wider) and bend your knees. Make sure you feel stable support from your table. Take a full breath in, and as you exhale bring your torso down toward the floor. Take hold of the opposite elbows and relax your head in between your upper arms. Take 8-10 breaths here. At the end of the breaths, slowly roll up to an upright position one vertebra at a time.

3. Be a Friend to Your Feet and Back Stretch
What It Does: Helps relieve lower back and hip pain associated with sitting in an office chair for a prolonged period of time. Soothes the heels and feet from walking/wearing high heels or tight shoes.

How to Do it: Sit straight in the middle of your chair with both feet on the floor. Bring your right ankle on top of your left knee and flex your right foot. Keep your foot flexed throughout the whole stretch. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, slowly tilt your chest forward in the direction of your right foot. Hold for 8 breaths. Close your eyes, if comfortable. Switch sides.

4. Detox Spinal Twist
What it Does: Twisting detoxifies the body. It also helps relieve back pain and discomfort and helps relieve shoulder tension. This is great after a night out.

How to Do it: Sit straight on your chair with both feet on the floor. Take a breath in and as you exhale twist your body to the right first. Bring your right hand behind you, hold the back or side of your chair and bring your left hand on to the right knee. Let your head follow. Hold for 5 breaths, then come back to center and then repeat the same twist to the left.

5. Mid-Day Pick-Me-Up Seated Stretch
What it Does: Carpal tunnel syndrome relief. Also expands the chest for more optimal breathing. Helps revive you mid-day when you're feeling sleepy.

How to Do it: Sit up straight on your chair with both feet on the floor. Inhale and bring both arms overhead and interlace your fingertips. Keeping your fingers interlaces, turn your palms toward the sky, and breathe for 5 breaths. Think of length in the torso as you breathe, and soften your front ribs. Reach for the sky. Repeat a few times a day as necessary.

More About YogaWorks: YogaWorks is the country’s leading authority on providing quality yoga education and complete wellness programs for every mind and every body with studios in Los Angeles, New York City, Orange County and San Francisco. Since its inception, YogaWorks has been dedicated to offering a wide range of yoga programs that reach all aspects of the community. YogaWorks also offers a renowned Teacher Training Program and has mentored some of the world’s leading yogis. Visit for a class schedule or to find a YogaWorks location closest to you.

So in addition to taking along my crochet hook, yarn and some healthy snacks; I am going to give these tips a try. This is new stuff for me, so I'm not planning to do it perfectly – I just want to give it my best. I'll let you know how it goes – let me know what you think too!

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