7 Yoga Poses for Weavers...

...and jewelers, knitters, painters, 9-to-5-ers, everyone! The beauty of yoga is that it's for anyone and everyone. In this case I've chosen to focus on weavers, being one myself, because of the long hours spent hunched over our beloved looms. Let's be honest, our upper backs take a beating from this craft. Passion comes with pain sometimes, and I'm here to help counter that with some body-loving yoga poses! 

I have carefully selected 7 poses that stretch parts of your body that need it most after a long day or night of weaving. I personally suffer from upper back pain and discomfort from sitting at a desk all day and weaving all night, so most of these poses are to stretch and strengthen our backs.

Try this sequence of poses before or after diving in to your current weaving project, your body will thank you! :)


1. Cat/Cow

  This is technically two poses, but they are done together so let's count them as one. Cat/Cow is a wonderful upper back stretch and doing "rounds" of this will really warm up your body. -Start in tabletop position, have your knees hip-width apart, arms shoulder-width apart, wrists in line with your shoulders. -On an inhale, arch your back, lift your tailbone and gaze up, keeping your hands pressing firmly into the ground. Exhale and continue pressing your hands into the ground, round your back, keep your tummy tucked in and feel that beautiful stretch in between the shoulder blades. Tailbone should be reaching down. -Do several rounds of this moving with your breath. Inhale to cow, exhale to cat.  

 

This is technically two poses, but they are done together so let's count them as one. Cat/Cow is a wonderful upper back stretch and doing "rounds" of this will really warm up your body.

-Start in tabletop position, have your knees hip-width apart, arms shoulder-width apart, wrists in line with your shoulders.

-On an inhale, arch your back, lift your tailbone and gaze up, keeping your hands pressing firmly into the ground. Exhale and continue pressing your hands into the ground, round your back, keep your tummy tucked in and feel that beautiful stretch in between the shoulder blades. Tailbone should be reaching down.

-Do several rounds of this moving with your breath. Inhale to cow, exhale to cat.  

2. Rabbit Pose

  See a theme here? Animals are a wonderful source of inspiration, and have the best stretches! ;)  -After Cat/Cow, stay on your hands & knees and sink your hips back to meet your heels (tops of the feet stay on the ground). Make sure your knees are touching and place your forehead about a hand's-width in front of you on the ground.  -Reach back to grab around the outsides of both your ankles and hold. -On an inhale, lift your hips into the air, rolling onto the top of your head, and kick your heels into your hands. This will create a delicious upper back stretch in between your shoulder blades. -Be sure not to put too much pressure on your head as most of the strength here is in your legs, and the grasp of your hands on your heels. -Stay here for 5 rounds of breath (one round = an inhale and an exhale).

 

See a theme here? Animals are a wonderful source of inspiration, and have the best stretches! ;) 

-After Cat/Cow, stay on your hands & knees and sink your hips back to meet your heels (tops of the feet stay on the ground). Make sure your knees are touching and place your forehead about a hand's-width in front of you on the ground. 

-Reach back to grab around the outsides of both your ankles and hold.

-On an inhale, lift your hips into the air, rolling onto the top of your head, and kick your heels into your hands. This will create a delicious upper back stretch in between your shoulder blades.

-Be sure not to put too much pressure on your head as most of the strength here is in your legs, and the grasp of your hands on your heels.

-Stay here for 5 rounds of breath (one round = an inhale and an exhale).

3. Big Toe Pose

  Or in Sanskrit, Padangusthasana! This is an overall great pose that stretches the hamstrings allowing your head and neck to relax and fall down. -From a standing position, bring your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. - Take an inhale, then exhale and reach for your big toes (if you're really tight in the hamstrings, put a bend in your knees). Wrap your first two fingers around the bottom of your toes and your thumbs on the tops.  -Take another inhale and straighten out your back extending your chest forward while still grabbing hold of your toes. -Then exhale and fold over your legs, letting your elbows bend out to the sides. Head and neck are loose hanging down, gaze is through and behind your legs. -Make sure your shoulders aren't up around your ears, bring them up and back to avoid crowding around your neck. -Stay here for 5 breaths and enjoy! 

 

Or in Sanskrit, Padangusthasana! This is an overall great pose that stretches the hamstrings allowing your head and neck to relax and fall down.

-From a standing position, bring your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips.

- Take an inhale, then exhale and reach for your big toes (if you're really tight in the hamstrings, put a bend in your knees). Wrap your first two fingers around the bottom of your toes and your thumbs on the tops. 

-Take another inhale and straighten out your back extending your chest forward while still grabbing hold of your toes.

-Then exhale and fold over your legs, letting your elbows bend out to the sides. Head and neck are loose hanging down, gaze is through and behind your legs.

-Make sure your shoulders aren't up around your ears, bring them up and back to avoid crowding around your neck.

-Stay here for 5 breaths and enjoy! 

4. Triangle Pose

  This pose can be challenging, but give it a try because it really opens up the chest and creates space in the front of your body while strengthening your back. -From a standing position at the front of your mat, raise your hands parallel to the ground, take an inhale and step your right foot towards the back of your mat. Left toes are pointing towards the side of your mat. Make sure your right heel is in line with your left heel here. -Keeping both legs straight, on an exhale lean out over your right leg and reach for your big toe (or shin or ankle if you can't reach your toe). -In this case, I grabbed my big toe. Once you grab hold of whatever you chose, inhale and reach your left hand up, arch your back slightly so that your chest is opening to the side and torso is parallel to the ground. Both legs are strong here (make sure your knees are not locked!) and your core is engaged to keep you stable. -If it feels comfortable, gaze up at your left finger tips without straining your neck, and stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

 

This pose can be challenging, but give it a try because it really opens up the chest and creates space in the front of your body while strengthening your back.

-From a standing position at the front of your mat, raise your hands parallel to the ground, take an inhale and step your right foot towards the back of your mat. Left toes are pointing towards the side of your mat. Make sure your right heel is in line with your left heel here.

-Keeping both legs straight, on an exhale lean out over your right leg and reach for your big toe (or shin or ankle if you can't reach your toe).

-In this case, I grabbed my big toe. Once you grab hold of whatever you chose, inhale and reach your left hand up, arch your back slightly so that your chest is opening to the side and torso is parallel to the ground. Both legs are strong here (make sure your knees are not locked!) and your core is engaged to keep you stable.

-If it feels comfortable, gaze up at your left finger tips without straining your neck, and stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

5. Extended Side Angle

  Extended Side Angle is a nice transition after Triangle Pose because the entrance into it is similar.  -Standing at the front of your mat, inhale and take a bigger step (about one of your leg's distance) towards the back of your mat with your right foot, arms raised parallel to the ground. -Exhale bend your right knee so that it is directly over your right ankle and your leg is at a 90º angle. Plant your right hand on the outside of your right foot and inhale your left arm up and over reaching overhead. Gaze is at your left elbow. You should feel a nice stretch all along your left ribs and in the side of your body here.  -Make sure you are pressing your right knee into your right arm so that your hips don't fall inward, and keep that left leg strong! -Stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

 

Extended Side Angle is a nice transition after Triangle Pose because the entrance into it is similar. 

-Standing at the front of your mat, inhale and take a bigger step (about one of your leg's distance) towards the back of your mat with your right foot, arms raised parallel to the ground.

-Exhale bend your right knee so that it is directly over your right ankle and your leg is at a 90º angle. Plant your right hand on the outside of your right foot and inhale your left arm up and over reaching overhead. Gaze is at your left elbow. You should feel a nice stretch all along your left ribs and in the side of your body here. 

-Make sure you are pressing your right knee into your right arm so that your hips don't fall inward, and keep that left leg strong!

-Stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

6. Seated Twist

  Twists are amazing for the body and very detoxing, so this perfect after hours of having your body in one position.  -Sit on your mat with both legs extended in front of you, feet flexed. -Bend your right knee and grab hold of it with your right hand. -Inhale and lift your left arm into the air, then exhale and twist to the right bringing your right hand to the ground behind your hips, and your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. If bringing your elbow around doesn't seem feasible, just hold your your right knee with your left hand. - Make sure you have a straight spine here and gaze over your right shoulder.  -Stay here for 5 breaths, and on each exhale, inch your left elbow further and further across your right knee. After 5, switch and do the other side. -And keep that left foot flexed, don't forget about it! :) 

 

Twists are amazing for the body and very detoxing, so this perfect after hours of having your body in one position. 

-Sit on your mat with both legs extended in front of you, feet flexed.

-Bend your right knee and grab hold of it with your right hand.

-Inhale and lift your left arm into the air, then exhale and twist to the right bringing your right hand to the ground behind your hips, and your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. If bringing your elbow around doesn't seem feasible, just hold your your right knee with your left hand.

- Make sure you have a straight spine here and gaze over your right shoulder. 

-Stay here for 5 breaths, and on each exhale, inch your left elbow further and further across your right knee. After 5, switch and do the other side.

-And keep that left foot flexed, don't forget about it! :) 

7. Backbend (two options)

  I'm giving you two options here because everyone's body is different and may not feel good in one or the other. Yoga should make you feel good, so don't push yourself if you feel any pain at all. On the other hand, if you're feeling flexy and strong, go ahead and try both!  First up is Bow Pose. -Lay down on your mat, feet and legs together and arms out in front of you. -Reach your arms back, bend your knees and grab your ankles, gaze is slightly in front of your mat on the ground. -On an inhale, kick your feet into your hands lifting your chest and knees off the ground, and your gaze in between your eyebrows.  -Keep breathing here, don't hold your breath, and stay here for 5.

 

I'm giving you two options here because everyone's body is different and may not feel good in one or the other. Yoga should make you feel good, so don't push yourself if you feel any pain at all. On the other hand, if you're feeling flexy and strong, go ahead and try both! 

First up is Bow Pose.

-Lay down on your mat, feet and legs together and arms out in front of you.

-Reach your arms back, bend your knees and grab your ankles, gaze is slightly in front of your mat on the ground.

-On an inhale, kick your feet into your hands lifting your chest and knees off the ground, and your gaze in between your eyebrows. 

-Keep breathing here, don't hold your breath, and stay here for 5.

  If Bow Pose doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can try.... Camel Pose! -Kneel at the top of your mat, legs hip-width apart, tops of the feet on the mat. -Rest your hands on your hips, roll your shoulders back, and begin to move your hands onto your lower back. -Inhale lift your chest and gaze up, and on an exhale slowly begin to walk your hands down your back past your booty, thighs, calves, finally to meet your heels. -Keep your pelvis reaching forward, arms straight, and let your head fall back (if it's comfortable).  -Stay here for 5 breaths, then move into child's pose right after to stretch out the lower back.

 

If Bow Pose doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can try....

Camel Pose!

-Kneel at the top of your mat, legs hip-width apart, tops of the feet on the mat.

-Rest your hands on your hips, roll your shoulders back, and begin to move your hands onto your lower back.

-Inhale lift your chest and gaze up, and on an exhale slowly begin to walk your hands down your back past your booty, thighs, calves, finally to meet your heels.

-Keep your pelvis reaching forward, arms straight, and let your head fall back (if it's comfortable). 

-Stay here for 5 breaths, then move into child's pose right after to stretch out the lower back.


And there you have it! If you do these poses in the order I have presented your body will love you for it. Be sure not to push yourself to a point of pain in any of these poses. Like I said, yoga is meant to make your body feel good, so take it nice and slow, and make sure you are breathing through each movement. 

There are always modifications for yoga poses, and what better way to show you than a video? I will be creating a short "Weaver's Yoga Practice" no more than 30 minutes long, with each of these poses included! 

I hope this helps all of you, and any friends or family members that you'd like to share this with who would benefit from it! 

Namasté, my artisan friends! :)