The new year is about breaking bad habits for me. An often overlooked bad habit for face-painters is our posture and health. We work multiple hour jobs, sitting or on our feet, leaning forward and our kit can be heavy. I can finish a long day and feel like I’m 80 years old! So I’ve teamed up with one of my very best friends, Keira May to talk through you some poses. On top of Keira being a yoga instructor her partner is a tattooist so she knows the trouble spots for working artists. Doing these poses regularly will improve your mobility and keep your greatest resource going. And no you don’t have to burn any incense if you don’t want to.
“Crescent moon (Ashta Chandrāsana)
A good warm up pose and one you can do anywhere without looking too silly! And can also be done seated!
From standing, feet together, raise your arms over your head, clasp your right hand around your left wrist and gently pull over to the right to create a subtle crescent moon shape with your body. Hold for a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.”
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
“A strength building beginners pose, the warrior poses give strength and length to your arms and legs.
From standing, feet together, step your right foot back. The back foot should be placed flat on the floor angled diagonally with toes pointing forwards. Bend the front knee, the knee should be stacked over the ankle, if possible, or slightly behind, if you find your knee goes too far forward you can take a wider stance. Reach your arms over your head and look up at the space between your hands. Keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears and take a few deep breaths in this position before repeating with the other foot forward.”
Warrior 1 with a bind
“This is a lovely variation of the Warrior 1 pose, it gives a big stretch of the chest and upper arms which can get so tight and cramped up if you're painting all day!
From Warrior 1, bring your arms down behind your back. Interlace your fingers, squeeze your shoulder blades and Straighten your elbows. If you're not able do this with your arms, clasp opposite forearms or wrists, remember to squeeze your shoulder blades to open up your chest.”
Goddess / Fierce angel pose (Utkata Konasana)
“This is one of my favourite yoga poses! It gives you a wonderful strength in the thighs and upper back. It opens the centre of your chest, which can be very compressed after a long day of painting! It's a very strong and empowering pose. It can be a little difficult if you have a lot of tightness in the hips or weakness in the thighs. But as with all yoga, the more you practice the stronger and more flexible you'll find yourself becoming!
Standing with feet about 3 to 4 feet apart (or as wide apart as you find comfortable) . Turn your heels in so your toes are pointing diagonally out to the sides. Bend your knees and raise your arms. Bending the elbows so your arms are in a cactus shape. Squeeze your shoulder blades together so you can feel your chest opening. Stack your knees over your ankles and sink your hips low.“
As they say in yoga, Namaste!
Keira teaches all manner of Yoga classes in the Leigh-on-Sea area and an be found through her Facebook page