Yoga in Daily Life, Part 6 - Yoga in Line

Posted by Steven Russell on Thursday, September 12, 2013

I hate standing in line. I don’t know many people who like standing in line. But it appears that many people are much more patient than I am while standing in line. Often while standing in lines at the bank or at the grocery store I pull out my iPhone and check my email. Then I answer a few chat messages, or text a friend. But I do that all day anyway. So what can we do while standing in line to pass the time productively? Yoga, of course!

No, I’m not going to drop to my knees and roll up into a headstand while I’m waiting to deposit checks at the bank, as much as I’d love to follow the urge to do that. Well, wait a minute. I would have little problem doing that. I’m not sure how much longer I’d have an account at that bank if I did do that on occasion. But what I have found myself doing often is the breathing exercise I spoke of in my blog on being in the car. Inhale to the count of four, hold the breath for four, exhale for four, hold the breath out for four. But I thought of a few other yoga things to do in lines:

  • Inhale deeply and then see how long you can safely draw out an exhale. One time I kept a slow, steady exhale going for a minute. Start slow, with maybe a ten second exhale or you might pass out!
  • Inhale and expand the belly. Then start to expand the rib cage on the inhales while exhaling normally. See how far you can lift the sternum while keeping the shoulders down and back. Like there’s a string drawing the center of your chest forward and up.
  • Wrap one hand behind your back and bring it toward the opposite hand. Interlace your fingers with all the knuckles pointing in front of you. See how far you can pull the hands forward. Then do the other way.
  • Look up and let the head drop back comfortably. Keep the mouth closed and feel a really great stretch along the front of the neck.
  • Try to touch your chin to your chest and hold it there for a while.
  • Try to touch each ear to a shoulder and hold it there for a few seconds.
  • Place one hand behind the back, palm facing out. See how low you can get that elbow down your back while pressing the back of the hand into the back. See how high up the back you can get your hand. Reach the other arm into the air and then bend the elbow and see if you can grab hands. This only works if you don’t have your check book or your phone in one hand. Do the other way.
  • Lift one foot off the ground and see how long you can balance without starting to fall over. You can also place that knee on top of the other and balance. Or even wrap that lifted foot around behind the other leg and wrap the toes and ankle around the other leg.
  • Stand really tall, but with the shoulders down and back. Close your eyes and see how long you can keep them shut before you have to open them for fear of the line moving, or for fear that they are going to haul you away for therapy, or before you think you’re falling over. If you fall asleep and fall over, please don’t hold me responsible.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back and bring your palms together. Then see how much you can safely straighten your arms. Then try to move your hands away from your back. Resist the temptation to fold forward and bring your hands toward the ceiling. That move might get the manager on your case.
  • Finally, the ultimate yoga exercise. Stare at all of the people in line in front of you. One by one wish all of them so much good fortune and wealth that they would never ever again have to wait in a line at the bank, or do their own shopping, or get a driver’s license. Then you’d also never have a line to wait in! 

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