Allison Ewing is a wedding & lifestyle photographer and certified yoga teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. After dealing with anxiety for years, she turned to yoga to find some relief. Not only did she find the relief she desperately needed, but she also found a desire to spread mindfulness and self-care to others through yoga. Allison is now on a mission to help other creatives incorporate yoga and breathing techniques into their daily lives. When she’s not taking photos or teaching yoga, Allison can be found spending time with her husband, buying more plants for her office and searching for the best sprinkle donut in Northeast Ohio.
As a wedding photographer and a registered yoga teacher, I know first-hand how yoga can help with the wear and tear that photography can have on the body. From long wedding days, to senior photos or newborn sessions and everything in between, photography can truly cause your body to feel tight and your muscles to feel overworked. Carrying heavy gear and squatting to get the perfect shot can make your entire body sore, but luckily by doing a few yoga poses, you can feel back to yourself in no time!
No yoga experience is needed to be able to do these poses, but as always, if it causes you any pain or if you have an existing injury, please stop and move on to another pose!
The following yoga poses will target your sore feet, wrists, neck and shoulders and will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list!
- Foot Massage
Place a spikey yoga massage ball (you can find them at your local Target or TJ Maxx) or use a tennis ball underneath your right foot and being to roll it up and down you foot
Switch sides and repeat on the left foot
Benefits: Relaxes the muscles and stimulates nerves for increased blood flow
- Forward Fold (Ragdoll and Shoulder Variation)
Stand up nice and tall and inhale deeply
On an exhale fold over your legs, bending the knees as much as you need (if the hamstrings are particularly tight, bend the knees a lot here)
Hang heavy over your legs, making sure there’s no tension in your neck (to release tension, shake your head “yes” and shake your head “no”)
Grab opposite hands to opposite elbows. You can find stillness here or it may feel nice on the low back to add a gentle sway side-to-side
(If you’d rather take this into the shoulder variation, you can interlace your fingers behind your low back for a shoulder stretch)
Benefits: Helps reduce fatigue, stretches the calves, hips, and hamstrings. The arm variation will stretch your shoulders.
- Gorilla Pose
From your forward fold (the last pose), slide the palms of your hands underneath your feet with the toes touching your wrist creases
Again, bend your needs as little or as much as you need to and let your head hang heavy. (Shake your head “yes” and shake your head “no”)
It might feel nice to massage your wrists with your toes
Benefits: Stretches out sore wrists and relieves stress
Make your way onto the floor, coming to all fours in a tabletop position.
Make sure that there’s a long line from your head to your tailbone with shoulders stacked on top of your elbows and wrists, and your hips in line with your knees. (If you have sensitive knees or knee pain here, you can always add a blanket underneath for more padding)
On an inhale, drop your belly low and gaze up to the ceiling
Exhale as you arch your back, taking your gaze to the floor and tuck your chin to your chest (you should look like a scared Halloween cat!)
Bonus: from your tabletop, feel free to sway side-to-side or roll around in your hips creating big circles. It’s important to know that you can’t mess this up- just move however it feels good to you!
Benefits: Stretches the neck, spine, hips, abdomen, and back
- Thread the Needle
Come back to your tabletop position
Inhale as you raise your right arm to the ceiling
Exhale as you thread your right arm underneath your left arm (your right ear and right shoulder will come down to the floor)
Stay here for 5-10 breaths and come back to your tabletop position
Repeat on the left side
Benefits: Stretches the shoulders, arms, neck and upper back
- Legs Up the Wall (My personal favorite!)
Lie on your back and bring your glutes as close as you can to a wall
Extend your legs up the wall, resting with the back of your legs and heels against it
Breathe deeply here and relax with your arms out at your side or resting on your belly!
If you have a foam block or a rolled-up blanket, you can place it at your low back and raise your legs up to the ceiling instead of using a wall
Stay here for at least two minutes to get the full benefits of the pose
If you don’t have enough wall space to use, you can also do this on your bed up against your headboard.
Benefits: Calms the nervous system and the mind. Relieves tired leg muscles and reduces swelling in the legs and feet.
- Bonus Pose: Reclined Bound Angle
Still lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out wide to the side
Let your eyes come to a close and relax here with your arms out at your side or resting with your hands on your belly
Benefits: This pose is great for anyone who may hold tension in the hips. It’s a great stretch for your inner thighs, groin and knees and can even help with sciatica.
The next time you feel like photography has taken a toll on your body, gives these simple yoga poses a try and let me know how you feel after! I also hope you’ll join me on Monday morning of The Reset Conference where (buy your ticket here for the Conference) I’ll lead participants through a 60 minute all-levels yoga class that will focus on the breath-body-mind connection. This class will contain themes of self-care, the importance of community and mental health awareness for creatives. Participants will leave with breathing techniques to help during stressful times and a variety of stretches and their benefits. Beginners are welcome! If you can breathe, you can do this class!
You can also find Allison on Instagram!