Yup, yoga for sewing, You read that right. And I know, lots of people think sewing is such a dainty pursuit that the most exertion it involves is waving smelling salts when we’ve swooned at our quilting pins. Well, kraken lovers, you’re about to be duly schooled.
The fact is that hours of being bent over a cutting table does to a body what Trump does to the average moral compass: bends it bang out of shape. In April last year I realised this when I was unable to get off a sunbed in Menorca. This was after months of aching, being unable to turn over in bed, put on socks properly or walk straight after getting out of my seat. At first I thought my rum consumption was catching up with me but then realised that my creative outlet was borking my body. Something had to be done that didn’t involve euthanasia. I needed yoga for sewing.
That’s when I staggered into Yoga with Adriene. First I googled ‘pilates’. Then I searched Amazon for ‘yoga videos’ (don’t judge my age). It was a lightbulb moment that made me google ‘yoga YouTube’ which is when everything changed, for there she was: Adriene *cue heavenly harp sound effect*. If you’re not familiar with her, fix it. She is the reason why, one day, my name will be in the same sentence as hers along with the phrase ‘restraining order’.
I can say it no better than this: Adriene’s online yoga practices have given me back my body. With her Texan twang, her faithful hound Benji, her double ententres and a practice for every occasion (as well as some I never knew existed) I now do an hour of yoga for sewing every evening. The result is that I can now get off the floor as well as get on it. I can do poses that once would only have been available to me with dismemberment. I even get excited when I embark upon a Three Legged Pigeon or a plank and – get this – I don’t have a single ache in my entire body. Not one. I’ve gone from not being able to get off sunbeds to actively vaulting over them.
So if you find yourself staggering away from your cutting table with your palms clasped to your aching bones, get a load of this lot. It’s the five Yoga with Adriene practices that I return to time and again. Whip out your scraggy old jogging bottoms! We’re getting on our mats:
Total Body Yoga Deep Stretch
Cor, I love this practice. It makes me feel fully exercised without needing to run around the block until I throw up. It leaves my hips feeling as if they’ve been actively replaced and forces me to have more awareness of my spine, perfect when I’ve been bent over embroidery. Even better, the the slow pace means I have to engage my breath effectively so it cools my noggin as well as my body. By the time I’m in the supine twist at the end I’ve forgotten that I sew at all.
Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Relief
This one’s fab because it really gets rid of the stitchy-tension in the upper back. It’s great yoga for sewing because it makes me create space between my shoulders and my ears (when my shoulders insist on creeping up). Even better, it can all be done while sitting cross legged so it’s really accessible and it’s just 17 mins long. It means that on the days when I’m whacked I can do this and still say I’ve done my yoga. Win win!
Yoga for Hands, Fingers and Wrists
This is a 10 min quickie and I usually tack it onto an hour’s full practice. It always amazes me that I forget entirely about my paws until I treat them to yoga for sewing. It’s only then that I realise that my busy fingers need love too. This practice is done cross-legged while sitting up straight, which in itself is a little work out for the spine, and I often do it while taking a break in my sewing shed. I just don’t do it with fabric scissors in my hand. I want to fix my fingers, not remove them entirely.
Self Love Yoga
No, not THAT kind of self love (Oi! You at the back! I can hear you sniggering!). This is 50 mins of yoga for sewing heaven, reminding you that your body and mind will thank you for tending to it. It’s all about building strength and contains a variety of moves from downward dogs and chair poses through to warrior poses and yogic squats. Not a joint of your body is left untouched by this baby and the joy is that you make up for the last eight hours of sitting on your arse.
Yoga for Sciatica
This is a fave because a couple of years ago I developed sciatica. It’s the only pain I have ever had that can be even vaguely compared to the flange-ripping horror of childbirth. I’m convinced I developed it from sitting to sew all day long. That’s why I love this 30 min practice. It’s really supportive because it’s done while lying on the floor and helps ease the pressure on the sciatic nerve. I no longer have any sciatic pain but routinely do this practice to keep it at bay. And did I say it’s all done while lying on the floor? I mean, c’mon!
And this is how I’ve spared my body from being mistaken for roadkill. I’m still 47 and still overweight but I’ll also never stop being amazed that I can now stand on my own hands and fling myself into a pose called Happy Baby (which would also have been handy for childbirth, come to think of it). So, go on. Grab your leggings and rock up to Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube page. I’ll wiggle into my hand-sewn leggings and meet you there!