Stretching helps to alleviate the aches and pains we accumulate in our bodies, especially if we’re sedentary for too long or on our feet all day. Experiencing SXSW will be a combination of:
a) trekking across town on concrete,
b) standing in line while carrying all of your stuff + swag,
c) sitting in a cramped room on small banquet chairs, and
d) repeating this for 5+ days along with overconsumption.
Here are 6 poses to help your body survive the Fest. These are great for pretty much anyone with a spine as they move the spine in all directions.
You can do this with the leg crossed at the knee or without. Sit up nice and tall and twist to one side, turning the head over the shoulder. Hold for 3-4 breaths. Unwind and go to the other side. I like to pretend like I’m “looking for someone” at the back of the room. Stretching incognito!
Grab one wrist. Take it up and over, elongating through the side body. Breathe into the ribs, through the armpit and up to the hands. Feel free to yawn. Hold for 3-4 breaths, and then switch.
Cactus arms + Rounded spine
These two poses combined mimic a seated cat/cow. Take the elbows wide, broaden across the chest and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Big inhale. As you exhale, stretch the arms forward, grabbing one wrist and round into the upper back. Draw the belly toward the spine and relax the head. Repeat between the two poses to find the heart opener (cactus arms) and a slight forward fold (rounding in).
To stretch out tight hips, find a cross of the ankle over the knee for Figure 4. Keep the bottom foot on the floor for a gentler opening, allowing the knee to open down. Sit tall and breathe. If you have a little something to prop up the bottom foot (perhaps in a ballroom with a row of chairs in front), draw the legs toward the chest. Breathe into the hip 4-5 breaths, then switch sides.
Figure 4 + Twist
Combine your Figure 4 with a twist for some super fun spinal action. Keep sitting tall as you rotate. Use the arm against the leg to gently press into the twist. Stay for 4-5 breaths, then switch sides.
Sukhasana, criss-cross applesauce, easy cross legged seat
Sitting in a chair can get old fast. If you have room to spread out a bit, take an easy cross-legged seat to give your hips some relief. Sit up tall and feel your sitz bones (two pokey bones in your butt) press into the chair or floor. Relax the shoulders.
You’ll find me stretching between sessions to save my hips and back from getting destroyed. I also do these as a precursor to heading out for the Fest and before bedtime. Give them a go!