(source: Roxanne Gan and printed with permission)
If you’re like me you’re probably noticing body tension creeping in while you try to work from home. Not being able to have your usual chiropractic, massage and acupuncture appointments doesn’t help either. I wanted to share a short but effective yoga routine that’s been helping me keep my body feeling as good as possible over these last few weeks. I hope it helps ☺
Its always therapeutic and relaxing to start with child’s pose then a couple cat-cow stretches.
Child’s pose – let your body relax over your legs. Breathe deeply 5x while you continue to let go of tension.
Cat-cow stretch – Inhale arch back, exhale round back, repeat 5 times
Squat – release tension in back as you twist and open up the hips too.
Seated twist – Keep spine long. Inhale to lengthen spine, exhale to twist.
Seated – Butterfly pose to stretch the spine & inner thighs. Keep back tall and long as you flex at the hip.
On your back – hug knees to chest keeping shoulders down, using core strength to get hips closer to ground to stretch lower back. Then open legs for happy baby pose to stretch hamstrings and inner thighs.
Rest in supine butterfly for a few deep breaths.
Thread the needle – stretching the glutes help release tightness in the lower back too. Relax shoulders, gently pull leg into tummy and lengthen tailbone down to feel the stretch.
Finish with a good spinal twist, breathing into the belly, exhaling from the lower back.
Hold these poses for 1 to 5 min.
*note: These stretches should never cause pain. If they do, do not continue with that particular stretch.
Yoga for Upper Back, Neck, and Shoulders
During the last month or so I’ve been missing my regular massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture/cupping treatments. I found this yoga video that really helps with upper back, shoulder and neck tension. It is also super relaxing! Enjoy!
Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the of the more popular meditations that has been studied to understand its role on creating calm and well being for the individual practicing it as well as promoting compassion and kindness for others. In this time of uncertainty where stress is high within ourselves but also in relation to others, these are things we could use more of.
This meditation can be incredibly helpful and one that is worth a consideration.
Here are some articles explaining it. See what you think.
A breathing exercise for stress reduction
- Find a position that is comfortable to you (sitting, lying, etc) in a space that is quiet and free of distractions (for a few minutes at least).
- Start to let your body settle into that position and become heavy on the chair you sit in, or bed you lay in, or wherever you find yourself at the moment.
- Let go of any tension you’re holding in your body or face. Without changing your breath just start to pay attention to it.
- After a few breaths, start to let your breath get deeper into your chest and belly.
- You may want to put a hand on your chest and one on your belly so you can feel where your breath is going.
- If your hand on your belly is not feeling any movement, deepen your breath into the belly until you feel some movement there.
- For the next few breaths, start to lengthen each inhale and exhale slightly to slow the breath down.
- Now we start a 5-10 breath, meaning you inhale for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 10. If this feels like too much then try a 4 count inhale and 8 count exhale – the key is that the exhale is twice as long as the inhale. This switches our brain and body out of a stress state and into a relaxed state.
- Keep doing your 5-10 or 4-8 breath for several minutes. I recommend at least 5 to 10 min, but you can do this for shorter lengths during the day to reduce stress when you notice it rising. You can also do it for much longer if you would like an even more peaceful and relaxing result.
The benefits of a 5-10 breathing exercise are many. As I mentioned, it moves your nervous system out of the stress cycle and into a more restful and calm state. This has the effect of reducing mental stress, anxiety, physical pain and muscle tension – things many of us are experiencing a lot of recently. Breath work also increases your oxygen levels, improves posture, massages your internal organs and can even help to improve circulation and digestion.
Stress management is essential to our overall health and wellbeing. Breath work is an excellent tool that can have incredible benefits on your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. I encourage you to carve out time in your schedule to take a few deep breaths, and hope it brings you a few moments of calm.
Self Compassion is something that is spoken about but rarely practiced. In so many of the individuals that I speak with, negative self talk or a negative inner critic is often apart of anxiety, depressed mood and contributes to an overall stressed out individual.
Especially in this time, where so much change and stress are felt, compassion for self is of vital importance. It helps us cope in difficult times, bridging over to a greater understanding of ourselves which can lead to helpful solutions.
I have loved Kristin Neff’s work on self compassion. Her website has various resources and support. https://self-compassion.org/. If you check it out, I hope it brings something helpful to you.
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