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Sitting Exercises

( Originally Published 1930 )

There are many valuable exercises which may be taken to advantage in a sitting posture, some of which employ different sets of muscles than when practiced standing.

Use a chair without a back, or a bench. A stool will answer if it has a broad, deep seat. It is important to place the weight upon the thighs in all the following exercises.

The feet should rest flat on the floor.

If a chair with a back is used sit so far back that the buttocks are poised well up against the back of the chair almost on it.

EXERCISE 44. Soft melodious music. This exercise is one of great importance in the Indian system and is for the purpose of gaining control of the thigh muscles. Correct postures and carriage can only be attained through the control of the thigh muscles. Walking, running, jumping and dancing correctly are absolutely dependent upon using the legs and their muscles properly.

Concentrate the mind upon gaining strength, flexibility and agility through the control of these muscles.

(a) Assume the correct sitting posture, with the hips placed well back and the weight well forward on the thighs.

Spread the knees about six or eight inches apart. Keep the feet pointed straight front and flat on the floor.

Turn the big muscles of the thigh inward, pulling them close together. Count four.

Turn the muscles and twist them outward as far as you can, counting four.

Repeat in a rhythmic, wavy motion, twisting the muscles first in and then out. Eight times. Be careful that the motion is made with the thigh muscles rather than the knees. To gain perfect control of the thigh muscles requires considerable practice.

Repeat the posture and move the thigh muscles upward, counting four.

EXERCISE 45 --Slow, swinging melody. This exercise is to make the base of the spine flexible, the hip joints limber, and serves to gain control of muscles seldom used. It will stimulate circulation, lubricate the joints and relieve nerve pressure.

(a) Assume the correct sitting posture, knees together, feet flat. Place the hands low on the hips with the thumbs pressed in so that you can feel the movement of the ball and socket joints.

Relax and inhale.

Squeeze the hip joints together, hard, pressing inward just as though you might bring them together in a strong contraction, counting six.

This requires practice and, when properly done, will draw in the base of the spine and coccyx with gentle pressure making it flexible ; will stimulate blood circulation and relieve nerve pressure.

Relax and exhale. Repeat four times.

(b) Repeat exercise (a) but press the hip joints apart, stretching the muscles to press the joints outward. Count four.

This will cause the base of the spine and coccyx to press back-ward.

Repeat four times.

(c) Alternate with (a) to gain perfect control together with elasticity and perfect flexibility.

(d) Using the hips as a pivot, bend forward as far as you can. Be sure to keep the posture correct and the weight properly placed. Count six.

Bend backward as far as you can. Count six.

Bend to each side as far as you can. Count six to the right and six to the left, swinging from the extreme right to the extreme left.

Bend obliquely forward in the same way toward the right. Count six.

Bend obliquely forward in the same way toward the left. Count six.

Bend obliquely backward, right and then left in the same way. Pivot in a circle, from the hip joints only, slowly, and making the arc of the circle as large as you can.

(e) Repeat all the movements of (d) and stretch up and away from the seat at the same time.

(f) Repeat all the movements of (e) and lift the shoulders as high as you can, stretching the muscles of the sides and abdomen as you pull the shoulders up. If you are bending to the right, lift the left shoulder; if bending to the left, lift the right shoulder. Then lift them together on the forward and back-ward bends and when rotating the entire body.

EXERCISE 46.-This exercise is for the shoulders, sides and liver.

(a) Assume the correct sitting posture, feet and knees close together. Lift the right shoulder as high as you can. Be sure that the movement is made by the shoulder muscles rather than the arm muscles. Push the shoulder down as far as you can. Repeat with the left shoulder. Count six.

Repeat, both shoulders. Now move them up and down fast. Repeat, alternating, slowly at first and then fast.

Repeat, shoving the shoulders as far forward as you can; then push them back, pulling the blades of the shoulders vigorously together.

Repeat, together, then alternating.

(b) Rotate the ball at the top of the arm bone in the shoulder socket in a circle; forward, then backward. Hold the shoulder and arm quite steadily while using the muscles. Count six.

Repeat, alternating and using a rhythmic motion.

(c) Be sure first that your posture is correct.

Relax and inhale.

Press the shoulder joints inward, squeezing them hard. Count six. This forces a strong contraction of the muscles of the joints together, a motion they seldom enjoy. It gives elasticity.

Press the shoulder joints apart, reaching outward with the tip top of the arm at the ball. Count six.

EXERCISE 47.-Slow waltz music. This exercise strengthens and limbers the muscles of the back, sides, and arms. It is a good liver stimulator also.

(a) Assume the correct, sitting posture, knees together, feet together.

Clasp hands back of neck.

Relax and inhale.

Lift the torso up, stretching the back as far as you can. Count six.

Repeat and bend to the right. Count six.

Repeat and bend to the left. Count six.

Repeat and bend obliquely forward and swing obliquely back-ward, stretching the muscles of the sides, back and arms upward and out from the hips.

(b) Repeat (a) with the arms folded in front. The pull inward and up of the abdominal muscles at the same time with the side and back muscles is of great value in this exercise.

EXERCISE 48.—Music, waltz time. This exercise will strengthen the muscles of the back, sides, waist, abdomen, arms and legs. It is also excellent for gaining balance and poise.

(a) Assume the correct sitting posture, keeping the weight of the body well balanced on the thighs; feet flat on the ground, toes straight front.

Inhale as you lift the right arm and stretch it obliquely for-ward and up as far as you can and at the same time allow the weight of the body to sway onto the right thigh. Count six.

Repeat with the left arm, stretching with the fingers.

Repeat, stretching the arm to the side; to the front; up; swing down in an arc and touch the floor.

Alternate, first with the right arm and then with the left, all of the above motions, in a rhythmic swinging measure.

(b) Lift the right arm high above the head, stretching, and point the right foot obliquely forward to the right, inhaling. Count six.

Hold and stretch, counting six.

Exhale while swinging down with arm, and touch the toes with the fingers, pivoting on the hip joint and keeping the weight balanced on the left thigh. Count six.

Swing back to position and exhale slowly; relax completely. Repeat with the left arm and foot.

EXERCISE 49.—Music 3/4 time. This exercise is designed to strengthen the ankles, arches and muscles of the legs and feet. The feet should be bare. If cold, loose stockings may be worn.

(a) Assume the correct sitting posture, feet flat on the floor and about twelve inches apart.

Lift the right foot about twelve inches from the floor, by flexing the knee, using the muscles about the knee joint principally.

Now, using the muscles of the ankle, stretch the foot down, up, and around in a circle. Count three while stretching in each direction.

Repeat in the opposite direction. Count twelve.

Repeat with the left foot.

Alternate, stretching hard; both feet up, keeping the balance.

(b) Repeat exercise (a) stretching with the heels.

(c) Repeat position of (a) but twist the foot and leg to the right, then to the left. Breathe rhythmically.

Both feet together. Alternate; both to the right, then to the left, then both in and out. Keep a perfect posture and balance while working. Relax completely.

(d) Assume correct sitting posture, well back, with weight balanced well forward.

Lift the right leg by flexing the knee and slightly lift the thigh from the chair, This will necessitate bracing yourself with the left foot on the floor and placing more weight on the left thigh.

Stretch with the heel, outward. Count six.

Stretch with the toes back toward the chair, then kick hard, forward and out, using the muscles of the knee. Count six. Swing to position and relax.

Repeat with the left foot and knee.

Repeat but stretch with the toes outward. Count six, and, with the heel back toward the chair, kick with the heel. Feel that the muscles of the knee and tendon Achilles do the work. Relax.

EXERCISE 50.-Music in a swinging rhythm.

Assume the correct sitting posture, brace the left foot on the floor and lift the right leg from the hip joint, using the thigh muscles, and keeping the knee flexed. Inhale while lifting.

Rotate the lower leg, from the knee down, right to left four times, stretching.

Exhale and swing to position.

Repeat, but rotate the leg from left to right.

Repeat both movements with the left leg.

EXERCISE 51.—This exercise is more difficult and is' designed to acquire balance and to strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen.

Assume the correct sitting posture, feet flat, and place the palms of the hands at the sides, on the seat of the chair, to brace you.

Inhale deeply.

Repeat exercise number 50 using both legs together. Hold the breath until you have swung the legs three times in a circle. Back to position and exhale slowly. The tendency is to exhale quickly and hard, but learn to control the breath.

EXERCISE 52.-This exercise is to strengthen the hands, wrists and arms and to learn to lead all arm movements with the wrist. Assume the correct sitting posture, feet flat on the floor.

Lift the right hand, wrist leading, by flexing the elbow. Feel that you use the muscles of the elbow joint, principally.

Allow the hand to hang gracefully relaxed.

Stretch the hand, fingers pointed down, to the left, up, right, and down again, in a circle. Count three for each direction. Breathe rhythmically and easily.

At the finish of the circle, hold the breath and shake the hand hard, up and down and then in and out. Exhale at the finish, slowly.

Repeat with the left hand.

Repeat with both hands together, swinging them inward, then outward, in circles and shake together relaxed downward.

EXERCISE 53. Music, a rhythmic melody. This exercise is designed to stimulate circulation in the bowels, promote their movement and loosen adhesions.

(a) Sit well back on a very low, straight chair or box with the feet placed firmly on a still smaller box or stool. Keep the knees together. (Figure 35.)

Double the fists like two balls and place them close together against the right side, low down.

Inhale, drawing the muscles of the abdomen inward and up at the same time.

Bend forward, squeezing the fists against the leg and press the fists with a rotary motion, into the abdomen, working them around forcefully.

Sway backward and forward, each time moving the fists a little farther along to the left until the entire lower surface of the abdomen has been covered, in all about five moves to the left, low down.

Now place the fists an inch or so higher on the right side and repeat the rocking and the rotary motion of the fists. Each time the body sways against the bent legs and the hard muscles of the thighs it presses the fists deeper into the abdomen. Repeat still higher up, each time holding the breath during the kneading.

(b) In the same position as (a) repeat the same exercise but instead of rocking the body forward and back, sway the body from side to side, rocking forward with the swing so that the fists press into the abdomen.

Repeat with a rotary swing of the body on the hips; swing from the hip joints.

EXERCISE 54.-Soft melodious music. This exercise will help to remove wrinkles and facial lines.

(a) Relax and inhale, keeping the correct sitting posture.

Relax the lower jaw and all the muscles of the face, counting ten. Exhale while slowly relaxing and be sure to think quieting thoughts.

Repeat, opening and closing the jaw six times, slowly relaxing each time.

(b) Sit correctly but thoroughly relaxed.

Yawn, stretching the muscles with thorough enjoyment and yawn downward rather than wide. Exhale slowly through the nostrils at the finish of each yawn. Relax all the facial muscles before yawning again.

(c) Massage the face gently with the tips of the fingers, concentrating upon health, youth and happiness in your thoughts. Massage in a rhythmic rotating motion from the corners of the mouth toward the ears and toward the temples. Do not rub hard. Use a little skin food or pure cold cream to facilitate the manipulation.

Repeat, massaging from the upper lip to the tips of the ears and to the lobes.

Repeat, massaging from the nostrils to the temple hair line. Repeat, massaging under the eyes and from the corners of the eyes over the temples to the hair, and back across the top of the head and down to the base of the neck at the back. Repeat, massaging the forehead in circles, from the midline to the temples.

(d) Massage the neck, grasping the throat with the hand and rotating the thumb and fingers with pressure on the sides, moving them over the entire area back toward the ears while massaging.

(e) Holding the head back and the chin up, massage the neck with both hands, from the base of the throat to the tip of the chin, with alternate strokes of the hands.

(f) With both hands massage the back of the neck on both sides

with the finger tips, from the shoulder blades to the skull.

EXERCISE 55.-Soft music. This exercise will manipulate the muscles of the head where it is joined to the neck, and poise the head grace-fully. It will serve to lubricate the vertebra of the neck and stimulate blood and nerve currents thus helping mental activity. It also stimulates the growth of hair.

(a) Holding the neck easily and straight without force, being careful to maintain a correct posture, pivot the head forward so that you feel the movement way up inside the neck where the head pivots on the end of the spine. It is here that the movement is needed rather than in the muscles of the neck. Freedom of action on this axis will relieve nervous tension and pressure in the head. Count four.

Stretch up to position, pulling from the crown of the head. Count four.

Relax the neck and drop the head backward. Count four. Holding the neck flexible but straight, tip the head to the right.

Count four. In making this motion do not bend the neck but pivot the head only.

Stretch upward slowly to position. Count four.

Repeat, pivoting the head to the left. Count four.

(b) Pivot the head, as directed in exercise (a) in a circle to the right, slowly stretching upward to position at the finish. Count four.

Repeat, circling to the left. Count four.

Alternate first to the right and then to the left.

EXERCISE 56.-Music in 2/4 time. This exercise is to demonstrate and to practice rising from a sitting to a standing posture. The object of this exercise is to place and lift the weight properly. (Ordinarily, when rising, the arms are not folded and it is easier to place one foot a trifle back of the other to balance the weight.)

Assume the correct sitting posture. Inhale.

Fold the arms ; hold the breath.

Throw the weight of the body forward and draw the feet back toward the chair. Count two.

Rise slowly using the muscles of the thighs principally and press down with the tendon Achilles to force the weight of the body up. Count two.

Assume the correct standing posture, hands relaxed at sides, exhaling slowly.

Repeat the exercise five times, keeping a perfect balance.

EXERCISE 57.-This exercise is to demonstrate proper weight placement in being seated. Practice with the arms folded to acquire perfect balance. (Ordinarily the arms should hang gracefully. One foot should be a little in advance of the other.)

Stand close to a chair ready to be seated.

Assume the correct standing posture and inhale.

Balance the weight well forward, swing the hips backward and bending at the same time, let the weight of the body slowly down upon the chair, using the thigh muscles to do the principal part of the work. Keep the spine relaxed and be sure that the weight is placed upon the thighs, well forward, when sitting.

EXERCISE 58.-Invigorating music. This is a good exercise for lifting your own weight; it develops the muscles of the legs and back, and tests the balancing power.

Assume the correct standing position in front of a chair. Swing the entire weight on to the left leg and foot.

Place the right foot, flat and straight front, on the seat of the chair and inhale.

Hold the breath and swing the entire weight forward on to the right foot.

Using the thigh muscles to push down, and the tendon Achilles to push the weight up, lift the body up to a standing posture on the chair.

Exhale slowly.

In descending reverse the process. Inhale and hold.

Place the weight on the left leg and foot and slowly lower the body to a standing posture on the floor on the right foot, using the muscles of the left leg to do the work. Exhale while descending.

Until you have learned to maintain a perfect balance, turn the chair sideways and steady yourself with one hand on the back of the chair.

Repeat the exercise, pulling up with the left foot and lowering with the right.

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