Mindfulness

Yoga for Everyone

Many of us think of yoga as a physical practice, meant to stretch and strengthen our bodies. That is one drop in an ocean of what can be discovered in the practice of yoga! 
According to an article titled “Are You Living Your Yoga? 5 Tips Inspired by Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor,” on YogaJournal.com, there are five ways everyone can practice yoga in their everyday lives. Try out these “yoga moves” this week! — No mat required.

Wring It Out

Lay on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in front of your body. Loosely support the back of your head with your fingertips and let your elbows spread out wide. Curl your heart center upward, so that your head, shoulders and upper back lift away from the floor — but be careful not to pull your head forward or hunch your upper back. You should feel your abdominal muscles contract to hold you up. Get excited about that feeling!

Message: Received

Communication can be tricky. Putting into words exactly how we feel can sometimes be challenging. Paying close attention to the person who is sharing without letting our own thoughts distract us can be difficult. And, aligning those moving targets to create a clear stream of consciousness that is shared between two people can seem almost impossible. So, what can we do?

​Light/Heavy

Lay flat on your back with your legs relaxed and arms softly stretching away from the sides of your body. Close your eyes. 

 

As you breathe in, cultivate a feeling of lightness or weightlessness. As you breathe out, allow your body to feel heavy or weighted down. Continue for about 5 more slow, deep breaths and see if you can really create the light and heavy sensations through your breath work. 

 

Kindness Starts Inside

There is a lot of buzz about self-care currently. The wellness world keeps offering up new ways for us to soothe from the outside - in. Rituals, massages, oils, tonics, crystals and baths all feel really nice, and can certainly have a positive impact on our state of mind. But real self-care, self-love, self-acceptance — feeling good in your own skin — starts on the inside. When we are able to see the beauty in our own hearts, expressing that beauty and love becomes much easier.

Step out of Stiffness

Sometimes I don’t even realize that I am stiff in some parts of my body until I try to move or stretch them. Some dynamic movement can increase circulation, reduce rigidity in the muscles, lubricate the joints, and bring an overall feeling of ease to the body. Notice how your legs feel before, during and after this simple exercise.

Bookend Your Day

No matter what you have to get accomplished in the course of a day, starting and ending with a minute to yourself can help to keep you connected with what’s most important - your own well-being. Make self-care a ritual first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. You could journal, say a prayer, stretch, meditate, breathe, light a candle, massage your feet… any mindful, loving action works, as long as it is special to you. Let it be something you look forward to waking up to and ending your day with. Personalize it. Enjoy it. 

 

I AM… | I AM NOT…

I created this exercise for myself, at a time when I felt (mis)-judged by others and noticed the ugly feeling of judgment rising up inside me.  By defining what “I am” and what “I am not,” I renewed some inner strength and self-confidence.  From that place, it is much easier to see others and the world around me in a positive, compassionate, empathetic way - and release the burden of judgment.

Calm and Connected

Need a quick way to calm your nervous system?  Take a dollop of rich, creamy lotion - and maybe a drop or two of your favorite essential oil - in your hands and massage your palms, all ten of your fingers, all of your knuckles and joints, and your wrists.  Dig your thumbs into the meaty heel of your hand at the base of each thumb.  

Digest Your Thoughts

I heard this idea the other day — We must digest our thoughts, feelings and problems in the same way we digest our food.  There is a process involved in gaining nutrients we need to live and thrive and in eliminating the waste.  
Many times, our heads and our hearts don’t work together to streamline the process of digesting our emotions.  When there is an imbalance of power between the head and the heart, the system halts.