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Stretch it out

March 18, 2013 - Meg Alexander
Last week was an unusual one for me, spent helping my dad redo the hardwood floors in my living room. The house was in chaos, with furniture shoved into the dining room and kitchen, and the living room essentially plastic-wrapped to try to keep the dust contained. As a result, my cats were trapped on the second floor, and my dear old dog had to spend several days and nights with friends, where she was showered with attention. I spent the evenings with the same friends, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor, with my dog nearby on her doggy bed, nuzzled up against my face.

It might not have been an ideal way to use vacation days, but it was actually a delight to spend the time with my dad, my friends and my dog. The only downside might have been the backache-inducing nature of the work, but I was able to avoid any muscle pains that normally would accompany staining a floor that size by hand, thanks to a few simple yoga stretches.

I start and end my day with a cat/cow sequence, followed by downward dog, a habit I developed after noticing my cats and dog always, always, always stretch before jumping up after they've enjoyed a long nap. Appropriate, isn't it, that these poses would be named after my inspiration?

Yoga instructor Tara Stiles walks through these poses and more in a nice little 9-minute video available on YouTube. I adore Stiles, if nothing else, for the free access to tons of online yoga instruction she provides. In just a few minutes, depending on what my goal is, she has enough online videos to walk me through a nice relaxing stretch, or a powerful core workout.


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