A celebration and an appeal to readers

25 Aug

First, the celebration. I would like to propose a toast – of electrolyte drink, your choice of flavor – to public libraries! Since much of this tour has been about updating readers on this website, I’ve taken full advantage of the libraries in towns that I’ve passed, and I’ve been very impressed. Champaign’s two-year-old library was grand and shiny and new, and their wireless was great. The Urbana Free Library has a fantastic stone porch on the east side, shaded by flowers and trees and an awning, and I sat for hours at the tables and chairs scattered outside the cafe. Today I visited two libraries – Danville’s was easily the highlight of the town, and I hope residents take advantage of it more than they do the other old, vacant buildings I passed. But Covington, Indiana, wins my prize for most picturesque library. Nestled on a tree-lined street corner a couple of blocks from the main square, its huge stone steps were the perfect place to send that forgotten email, and there was a steady stream of people filing in and out the door, despite Covington being a remarkably small town.

Next, the call to arms. I am sure some of you readers are practiced at yoga, and I would like your advice. What are your favorite poses or stretches that will ease the tension in my neck and back, strengthen my shoulders and abs, and stretch out my hips and knees without straining them? At the end of the day, and the beginning, I yearn for a peaceful balance and strength and flexibility that my volleyball stretches are just not getting me.

I see a lot of views like this these days...

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3 Responses to “A celebration and an appeal to readers”

  1. Mandy B August 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Annie, I’m a huge fan of the pidgeon pose for stretching out your hips. It’s kind of hard to explain in writing, but basically from a downward facing dog, bring one knee into your chest, then start to pivot that bent leg so that the calf is as parallel as possible to the front of your mat. Gently lower the mat. At this point, your back leg will be stretched out behind you, slightly bent, and your front leg that’s parallel to the mat will give a good stretch in the outside hip.

    For your neck and face, try an unlikely and kind of goofy move that’s amazingly effective: Breathe in deeply, then breathe out fast and hard (you should hear yourself) as you thrust your tongue out of your mouth and open your eyes as wide as possible. Scary lion or something. I like to balance this with a face pose I call Skinny Model, where I suck in my cheeks. Sometimes I repeat this two a few times, alternating, to relax my face. Then I feel I can move on to my neck.

    Happy riding! Talk to you soon! – Mandy

  2. anny August 28, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    I definitely echo pigeon, it’s the best for opening up your hips. For working your back and neck, try camel pose (http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/688) – if you are just starting out you definitely don’t need to go all the way back, just kneel and slowly lean backwards as far as you can without it hurting. It really gives your neck and spine a good workout.

    For hips there’s another one that’s tricky to describe and I’m not sure what it’s called…but you start in downward facing dog, extend your right leg, and then step it through in between your hands (like you’re about to do warrior). Then you pivot your right foot to the right about 45 degrees. Keeping your left leg straight out behind you and your hands as they were, drop your left hip down towards the ground. Repeat on the other side. By the third or fourth time you do it you should notice that your hips are noticeably looser and can drop farther and farther down…

    Sounds like your journey is going swimmingly!! I’m making yogurt as we speak…

  3. Anjeanette September 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Downward facing dog is one of the most important poses since it’s such a yoga staple. Most of our “dogs” could use a little refining. I found Leeann Carey has a free yoga video for hands-on adjustments in down dog. Thought your readers might want to check it out: http://planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/index.php/free-yoga-video-hands-on-adjustments-for-downward-facing-dog/

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