You Will Receive A Body, Part 1 is here. Continuing…
Naturally, if you are working out and enjoying it, keep it up. The exercises listed below are helpful when you’re in your office, in your car, at Court (with discretion, i.e., breathe!).
It’s easy to discount the exercises listed below – they’re easy, gentle and effective. Most of us catch enthusiasm and do exercises so vigorously that the next day every muscle has spasmed. Give yourself permission to enjoy an easy existence.
Releasing Kinks and Muscle Tension
You can do these quietly and privately, as well as to music. Each of these are designed to release tension that gathers.
Take a few minutes several times a day to do any of the following:
1. 10 deep breaths. Sitting comfortably straight, back supported, feet on the floor, with a single breath for each movement, breathe in, and as you exhale, allow your neck and head to tilt gently to the left, breathe in, bring your head back to the center, breathe out. Breathe in and as you exhale, tilt it to the right. Breathe in, bring it back to the center, exhale. Breathe in, as you exhale, let it gently fall forward. Bring your head back up.
2. Find a bare wall – step away enough so that you can do pushups standing up. This one is incredibly effective for opening up those knots that hide behind your shoulder blades, and for opening up the tightness in your chest from sitting poorly or from anger.
3. Knee bends.
(a) If necessary, begin with balancing one hand on a wall. Feet gently together, head up, other hand in front of you – just as though you were stooping for a low filing cabinet, breathe, come back up.
(b) When you’re ready, both hands in front of you, bend your knees and stoop, come back up, slowly.
4. Knee lunges – Begin with the right leg bent in front of you, left leg straight, lunge slowly as though you were fencing, feel the pull in your calves – back straight, hips forward. Careful – I ended doing splits because of the carpet!
Standing comfortably straight:
5. Feet together, hands at your side, breathe in and sweep your hands, then your arms out to the side and up over your head, keep your head forward. Bring your hands down in front of you, palms together, hold them there at your chest, just above your rib cage. Take a deep breath, let it out. On the next breath, sweep your hands out in front of you, as though ready to embrace someone, continue the sweep to your sides and allow your hands to drop.
This particular one can be done with variations – at each point, you can visualize pushing against something – sometimes it is palm against palm, sometimes you are simply pushing out space.
6. Feet together, cross your right arm to hold your left upper arm and the left arm to cross and hold the right upper arm – give yourself a hug. Opens up those muscles trapped behind your shoulder blades.
7. Do # 6 as above, but right arm crosses to the left shoulder, hand slides and grasps right above the left elbow. Left arm points to the right and gently tug with the right hand above the left elbow. Reverse. Do several times.
8. Do as above, but behind you, grasping forearms this time. Tug gently.
9. Breathe in; Lift your shoulders to your ears, hold. Push your shoulders back, hold. Breathing out, drop ’em, hold. Repeat slowly five times.
10. Reach for the sky, and begin pulling an imaginary rope through your hands.
11. Feet apart, reach upwards with both arms, drop like a rag doll, bending your knees at the same time, allowing yourself to go loose and ape-like. Repeat.
12. Place your fingers tips on your shoulders, elbows pointing out to the sides,
(a) Keep finger tips in place and pull the elbows together – try to have ’em touch. Back out to the side, bring ’em back to the center – several times.
(b) Keep same position, now different directions, elbows aligned upwards, back and down.
13. Standing, balance the left hand against a wall, face straight ahead and be sure the area is clear both in front of you and behind you. With your left foot turned out, turn your right foot outward, brush it out in front of you as though you were kicking something, bringing your right foot upwards, knee bent, as high as your waist (or as high as is comfortable), and then swing it back behind you, bring it back to the front again, knee still bent, up to your waist, then brush it to the back again. At all times, coming up and going back, your right knee should be bent. Do this 10 times. Then switch sides, so that it’s your right foot and hand supporting you and the left foot sweeping up in front of you and back behind you. Do this side 10 times also.
To be continued…
Note: This is part of the AWOL Manual, “When to Lay the Weapons Down,” copyrighted 1995, renewed 2008