So, the cat’s out of the bag. You wear yoga pants all the time… but you really aren’t sure if you’ve ever actually been to yoga. It’s okay girlfriend. I did this for many years as well. You see the problem was, I thought yoga was only for certain people. Certain slender, flexible people. I had it all wrong. I just went to the wrong studio. One that had a mirror. Whew.
Since finding the right place to practice yoga, my stress dropped dramatically and I was even able to find yoga in places away from home when I desperately needed to find my calm. Some days the world seems too much for us to take in. The stress of others is so deep and palpable it becomes a living, breathing thing we inhale as we are in their presence. At that point, you know it’s time for some yoga-like moves.
The first thing yoga teaches is to find more balance in your life. If you are constantly on the go, finding and maintaining a practice will be necessary for you to thrive. Yoga teaches us to stay present in the body and mind and to free ourselves from thoughts of the past or the future. In essence, yoga teaches us how to live in the moment.
Pamper Yourself with These Exercises:
The Breath of Centering
Find a place you won’t be disturbed. Relax and light candles if it helps you or put on low music. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Unclench your jaw and let the tongue fall away from the roof of the mouth. Allow the shoulders to drop. Place your hand on your belly and feel the air expanding as you inhale through your nose deeply. As you begin to exhale through your nose, you may make the sound of the ocean by constricting the back of the throat and warming the breath. This is known as ujjayi breathing. Continue breathing in and filling the belly feeling the lungs expand, and then exhale through the nose. Only focus on your breath. Repeat a third time. You may use this exercise anytime you are feeling stressed or anxious.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
After a long day at work, the lymphatic system needs a break. Especially if you are prone to swelling in the ankles. Get in comfortable clothes and take off your socks. Sit next to a wall and then shimmy as close as possible so your hip touches it. Swing your legs up the wall and let your bottom bump the wall and put your legs straight up. If you feel any strain adjust yourself a bit away from the wall, but let gravity do its work and help improve the circulation in your legs. This is great for all people and especially before bed. Stay there for 5-10 minutes resting and focus on your breath as you do.
The “Taquito” Pose
So I have to warn you that there is no real pose named the Taquito; however, it is amazing and was handed down during my restorative practice, so I am gifting it to you. Take a beach towel or other long towel and roll it up so that it is nice and long in the shape of a Taquito. Place it on the floor in your quiet space at the base of your spine next to your bottom. Adjust as needed so that when you lie back on it, it cradles your spine. Ahhh. My spine is actually itching as I write these words because this pose feels so amazing. It releases the tension of sitting at a desk all day and allows you to come to resting while feeling like you have had a spine massage. Trust me. You have time for this pose.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Normally, at the end of my practice, I will walk all the students through a fabulous relaxation as we enter savasana or resting. It’s also called corpse pose, but most people don’t really like to call it that; however, you are to remove all thoughts from your mind, so the best way I can do that, is to make sure I am relaxed. I start at the crown and ask you to give yourself a nice scalp massage, then come down to your ears where you pull on the lobes a bit to release any stress there. I then draw your attention to the space between the brows, where you might be holding tension and aren’t even aware of it. Scrunch and release. Go down to your mouth and do the same. As if you ate a lemon. Scrunch and release. Allow any tension to float into the earth beneath you. Continue down into your shoulders as you shrug them and release. Travel into your shoulder blades and allow them also to melt into the mat or floor beneath you. Travel all the way down and tense on your leg, then the other, allowing them to fall slightly open. Lastly, ball up your toes and release. All tension is now released from your body and you are free to relax there for as long as you wish.
I hope you enjoyed these yoga-like moves that you can take with you anywhere you travel! It is always a good time to carve out time for your bedtime relaxation rituals at least an hour before you plan to sleep.
Namaste my friends.