Reach Out

This is the fourth post in a series for the desk bound who are learning ways to keep rocking their health.

Ana Forrest is a California yogini and creator of ForrestYoga.  She’s written a book called “Fierce Medicine” in which she describes the importance of keeping the hands and feet spread as wide as possible when practicing yoga.  Not only does this distribute energy better over the hands and feet while  supporting the body in yoga poses, it also encourages joint stretching which moistens and nourishes the surrounding tissue.

Imagine the  myriad number of ways we keep our fingers and hands closed all day—wrapped over cell phones or grasping the steering wheel, holding a cup of coffee, tapping the keyboard, or held closed up in tension or fear— actions that tend to reduce healthy circulation.

Forrest writes that our hands are also extensions of our hearts….remember how the wedding band is symbolically placed over the finger of the left hand?  It’s a venous path that leads straight to it…

What would it feel like to begin opening the hands regularly?  What does that feel like in the mind? I think it takes a certain amount of vulnerability, perhaps even courage.

An open hand drawn by an artist’s brush often symbolizes a dropping of weapons, an action of non-resistance, of peace-keeping, or a display of compassion.  The act of extending a hand outward for a handshake, to wave hello, to lightly press against the shoulder of someone in distress conveys warmth, connection, bridge-building.

Keep the hands and fingers fluid and flexible while opening the pathway to the heart.  Try these hand stretches regularly:

  • Shine your palms out, fingers spreading wide. Alternate clenching the fingers into a fist and then open them as wide as possible.  Do this 5 times or more.
  • Use your desk to stretch the fingers  downward, pressing them into the edge of your desk as far as comfortable. Stay here for 4 to 5 breaths.
  • Stand and press your fingers into your desk—staying up on the pads of your fingers.  Try squeezing the fingers pads inward, as if trying to pull up the fingers into a claw.  Do this 4 or 5 times
  • Stretch the arms out in front of you at shoulder height and open the  fingers wide. Flop the hands downward, keeping the arms extended and  isolating the movement in the wrists only.  Do this 5 to 8 times

Finish by vigorously  shaking your the hands out and then wave hello to someone.

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