Free Your Joints and Liberate Your Creative Energy

By Heath and Nicole Reed
[Savvy Self-Care ]

Hello spring! The energy of new growth, renewal, regeneration, and rebirth is rising up and out. The earth is quickening, and our own energy systems are awakening with a new sense of purpose and action. The seeds of change planted last fall—and nourished all winter long—are cracking through their husks and sprouting into a new form of being. Indeed, this is the season of both being and becoming.

During this seasonal transition, you may experience a building pressure that grows from new energy springing forth. The pull to remain in stillness and the push to move forward can create tension, resistance, and agitation in our bodies and minds. It takes effort, grit, determination, and tenacity to shake off the winter, push through the confines of the darkness, and reach for the light. Stretching and moving releases pent-up energies and encourages our emotions, breath, and blood to circulate freely. 

Free Your Joints

The following is a therapeutic, full-body joint-freeing sequence adapted from Mukunda Stiles’s book Structural Yoga Therapy: Adapting to the Individual. The series is designed to “move each joint gently and systematically through its full and natural range of motion . . . to enhance joint mobility . . . and relieve joint pain and stiffness.”1 And being that traditional Chinese medicine associates spring with the wood element—ruler of our tendons—this routine dissolves tension and stiffness and generates a warm heart and flexible joints.

A Joint-Freeing Series 

Repeat each movement six times (or until the joint feels warm), coordinate your breath with your movement, and move with only 70 percent effort. There’s no need to push or force your body through any range of motion. Please be kind with your body, and omit or modify any movements in areas where you are healing.

Begin this series by sitting on the floor with both legs outstretched in front of you. You can support your spine by placing your hands on the floor behind your hips, or challenge your core by resting your hands on your thighs.

1. Inhale as you dorsiflex both feet. Exhale as you plantarflex. 

2. Inhale as you create a half-circle. Exhale as you complete the circle. After six repetitions, repeat moving in the opposite circular direction six times.

3. Inhale and lift your straight leg off the ground. Exhale and bend your knee. Pull your heel toward your thigh as you hold onto your shin with one or both hands. Repeat on the opposite side. 

4. Separate your straight legs wide apart. As you inhale, internally rotate one leg, then slide that straight leg as close as possible toward the opposite leg. Externally rotate that leg, and exhale as you slide that leg as far wide as possible (feel the motion originate in the hips). Repeat on the opposite side.


Now, transition onto your hands and knees into a tabletop position. Place a blanket under your knees and/or drop to your forearms to protect your wrists.

1. Inhale and extend your spine by lifting your tailbone and head up to the sky and dropping your belly to the floor.

2. Exhale and flex your spine by tucking your tailbone, rounding your spine, and drawing your chin to chest (feel an undulation along your spine as you move from flexion to extension in this common “cat-cow” yoga pose). 

Next, transition into a comfortable seated position. You can be in a chair or on the floor cross-legged, straight-legged, kneeling, or in any other seated position that feels easy.

1. Begin by extending both arms straight out in front of your body with your palms facing down.

2. Inhale as you flex your wrists and gather all your fingers together. Exhale and extend, lift, and stretch your wrists and fingers up and wide.

3. Inhale as you circle your soft fists outward. Exhale as you circle them inward. Repeat in the opposite directions.

4. Supinate both palms up and inhale with your arms extended out. Then, exhale as you bend your elbows and rest your fingers on your shoulders.

5. With your elbows bent and palms resting on your shoulders, inhale and squeeze your elbows back and behind you. Then, exhale and squeeze your elbows together in front of you. 

Inhale as you raise your head and chin up to the sky. Exhale as you drop your chin to your chest.

Inhale looking forward. Exhale as you drop your ear to your shoulder. Inhale and bring your head back to center. Exhale as you stretch your opposite ear to the opposite shoulder.

Inhale with your head centered, and exhale as rotate your head and look right. Inhale center, and exhale as you rotate left.

After completing this full-body balancing flow, pause and notice how you feel. Enjoy the benefits of your efforts circulating and warming you from head to toe. Perhaps take your joints for a gentle walk or a soothing nap.

Liberate Your Creative Energy

Another practice that aligns us with the burgeoning and blossoming energy of spring is inspired by the “Creative Joint Play” practice of Kathlyn Hendricks, PhD.2 Explore new directions, shapes, and possibilities in this practice to express and bloom your needs, wants, and desires. 

Creative Joint Play

Begin seated, standing, or lying down. Ask yourself, “What position does my body want to be in?”

1. Bring your attention to a single finger, and imagine you have an eyeball on that fingertip.

2. Look around the room with that imaginary eyeball on your fingertip, moving it in as many directions as possible. Notice when you repeat the same movement three or more times, and then create a new direction or choose a new pattern. 

3. Next, add eyeballs to all five of your fingertips and continue to move your fingers in new and unique patterns as your “finger eyes” look all about you.

4. Add more eyeballs to your carpels, elbow, and shoulder. Allow all these joints to “look” around you as you continue to invent, discover, and reveal new movements.

Remember to “look” above, beside, and behind you with your movements. After about three breaths or so, pause all the movement. Notice if you sense any difference from the one arm that was moving, and the opposite arm that stayed stationary.

Now, include both sides of your body as you playfully add numerous eyeballs to all your joints!

1. Begin to “see” with all your fingertips, both your elbows, shoulders, sacrum, ischial tuberosities, knees, feet, and more. Get curious about how many new and different patterns, movements, and expressions might flow from as many parts of your body as possible.

2. Continue to include your generous breath, wild curiosity, and kind smile.

3. Let yourself enjoy what you are creating in the moment. And allow your presence to grow.

4. Feel your body awakening into the moment with every new choice you make. You are creating! 

5. When you feel complete, unwind slowly into stillness and savor all the sensations you created, and allow this feeling to cascade in, through, and around you. 

Explore Creative Joint Play for as long as you like. It only takes two minutes of intentional movement to create physiological and psychological changes that bring you out of tension and into flow. Exploring the potential of your kinesphere is a way to follow your intuition, delight in your own sense of wonder, and open to your boundless creativity. 

Are You Ready to Bloom? 

Now is the perfect time to strengthen your energy system with action and creative expression. Use the uprising spring energy by moving yourself in new and unexplored directions—and trust that your intelligent body knows where the energy needs to go. Start with simple, mindful movements that evolve and expand into the new growth of your efflorescence. When you give yourself permission to bloom, you liberate stored tension, balance your energy systems, and cultivate the beautiful garden of your creative expression. 


1. Mukunda Stiles, Structural Yoga Therapy: Adapting to the Individual (San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2005).

2. Kathlyn Hendricks, “Creative Joint Play Video,” accessed January 2021,

Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta, or Living “Loving Kindness.” The Reeds have been team teaching national and international workshops and retreats since 2001. They place a strong emphasis on growing body intelligence, intuition, and self-care. They invite you to join their membership community to inspire and refresh your practice. Their bodywork, self-care videos, webinars, home-study courses, and more may be found at