I think there’s a widespread belief that bookishness and athleticism are much like oil and water, and rarely mix well. Bookworms have oft been portrayed as pale obsessives with one-track minds, who eschew the outside world and any activity other than delving into their next read.
…Come to think of it, that might not be far off, for some of us. But it doesn’t mean we don’t welcome new ways to try. With yoga being all the rage these days, Charlotte Lacroix from AbeBooks’ German office made it her business to find out if it was possible to get some exercise, some stretching, some sunshine and fresh air, all without having to take her nose out of her book.
She posted about her experience over on the ZVABlog, and we’ve recreated it for you below in English.
I don’t like to admit it: I’m a couch potato. And in these sunny summer days, you easily get a really bad feeling in your conscience when you see people packing their swimsuits or going to the park with their yoga mat. My personal mat is rather for lying around, and I usually also carry a big picnic basket and at least five books with me when I go to the park.
But I recently found a solution for my dilemma: did you know that there is a way to do sports while reading?
Yoga expert Erin Schafranek from “Rundum Yoga” explained how, and was happy to show me. And somehow, the poses recommended by her reminded me of the book world again…
1. “Book Bend”
We start our training pretty smoothly: close your feet, soles together, and lower the body slowly. In this position, even the most thrilling book can be read in a relaxed way. Best to avoid thrillers and courtroom dramas, as a sudden jerk upwards could hurt.
2. “The Light-Reading Sphinx”
Known simply as “The Sphinx” by yogis, this position allows for some light reading and relaxation, while still giving your lower back some gentle, efficient stretching. Perfect for pleasant, meditative reading.
3. “Book Ends”
How do you like these sporty book ends? The key to this pose is to keep your legs and feet at 90 degree angles. This might be a good position for reading comedy, since all the blood is going to rush to your head anyway, so you might as well have a good laugh.
4. “The Reading Pirate”
Fine, technically it’s called the Tree pose, and it’s already a bit less comfortable. You need a bit of balance for this one so please, nothing too engrossing for your reading choice, or you might topple.
5. “The Dog Ear”
The dog ear is not only a folded edge of a page, but it also helps you to train your legs, lower back, and shoulders, while it stretches the vertebral column.
6. “The Bookmark”
The bookmark trains arms and your belly muscles. Make sure that your arms are in a 90° angle with the floor and that your bottom stays in the same height as your shoulders. Guaranteed to keep you in place – although you probably won’t make it more than a few pages in this pose.
7. “The Open Book”
Not as innocuous as its name might imply, this pose is definitely not for beginners. Also, you might want to try it in front of the mirror before presenting it in the park. Erin still looks quite relaxed reading in this pose.
8. “The Bibliomaniac”
You’d have to a bibliomaniac – or some kind of maniac, anyway – to attempt this pose without yoga experience! Even our model and yoga expert can only peek into her book while doing this very advanced pose!
And at last, our fearless blogger Charlotte can now return to the park with her head held high and her conscience intact, after her day training with yogi Erin Schafranek.