Stop the hurry with this simple, heart-centered yoga

Hello wonderful people.  I hope this finds you well.  As we head into the especially busy season of the year, I wanted to put together a practice for myself that would feel accessible even on crazy days.  I thought maybe you all would enjoy it as well.

Remember, even little bits of yoga add up and have benefits of lowered stress, feeling calmer, and allow space for authentic joy and appreciation in our lives.  Let me know how you are doing with your practice and how I can support you.

You can practice these asanas individually or in a sequence.  Let’s get started.

1. Breathe.

I always start with my breathe when I feel busy or overwhelmed.  It is always with me and I find myself unconsciously taking a deep breath all day long.  My boys have started doing it as well.  So cute!

The easiest method to use in any situation is simply learning to slow down your breath.  Inhale to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, repeat. Over time, you can play around with increasing the count. Practicing controlling your breath will help calm your nervous system, relax your body, and quiet your mind.

img_63252. Hip-opener.

Before you get out of bed, take a few moments to find a happy baby or a reclined cobblers pose.  I especially love Happy Baby to start the day. It’s a good reminder to go out into the world feeling playful, happy, and in touch with your inner child.

Reclining Cobblers Pose

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3. Forward Fold.

Whether we spend most of our day seated or on our feet, we can all use a little stretch, a little release of the lower back, and a lengthening of our hamstrings. Take a few short breaks each day to stretch and release physical tension. Standing up with your feet flat on the ground, just fold forward as far as you can, bringing your hands down to the ground, to your shins, or to a block. Allow some bend in your knees if you prefer.  You can even rest your forehead on your knees, giving yourself a little nervous system reset.

4. Savasana.

On the days when I skip my mat, I always say, “Well, at least I practiced Savasana in bed.”  When I go to bed, instead of just getting into my usual position for sleeping, I get into Savasana.

To try this, lie flat on your back, allow your arms and legs to extend and relax. Breathe deeply at first, and then forget about your breathingSurrender. Feel as if you are melting into your bed. Dissolving. You might fall asleep. Give yourself a few minutes here before switching your brain to sleep mode.

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5. Live your practice.

Yoga isn’t just about the movements or breath. It’s what we learn on the mat. The lessons of strength, focus, perseverance, awareness, self-acceptance ultimately take us into our lives.  When you feel too busy to hit the mat, consider one lesson you’ve learned on the mat and challenge yourself to carry what you learned off the mat and into your day.

Regardless of how busy you are, you can always choose to live your life in a way that reflects the principles and purpose of yoga. In that way, you are weaving yoga into your daily life.

As we barrel towards 2019, what are your yoga goals? What feelings do you want to grab a hold of with both hands next year? And how about today? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email.

Namaste my friends.  Take care of yourself in this season.

7 ways to embody gratitude this season

Hello Beautiful People. We have officially entered the end of the year frenzy. With Thanksgiving next week, the sprint into the heart of the holiday season has already started. We can all feel a lot of stress, depression, and anxiety with a hearty serving guilt and judgment about our lack of gratitude and thankfulness.  Below you can see actual footage of me rushing through rather than savoring the holiday season.

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So if you are among these people sprinting and/or stressing, I have one encouragement to you. Research shows that attempting a gratitude practice is beneficial, even if you don’t feel authentically grateful in that moment. That’s not just pop-psychology. Yep, a gratitude practice without expectation of a certain result can bring just as much benefit as if we are just “grateful people” (who are these people anyway?).

I have spent a good amount of time researching gratitude practices and their benefitsAnd I have to say that it worked for me.  When I began to regularly use the practices listed, I went from feeling trapped in anxiety and fear, to more calm and content. The most noteworthy benefit for me was witnessing myself feeling less reactive to stressors. Ok, without further ado…

7 ways to embody gratitude:

  1.  Breathe. Check in with your breath. Can you notice it in your body?  There are no right or wrong answers here. The answer might be, “No, I don’t feel anything.”  Don’t worry, that’s normal.
  2. Smile.  You don’t have to smile at someone. You could, but you don’t have to. Just allow yourself to smile a little bit while you sip on your coffee or tea, when you notice a decoration or a plant that you like. It could be the tiniest smile. Note how it feels. No need to judge. It might feel terrible that is still connecting with yourself.  Great job!  I hope this picture of my son, Tobias, helps as an example.Tiny_smile_gratitude
  3. Be present. Place your hand over your heart. See if you can feel your heartbeat.  There is no gold star for achievement here. This is about slowing down and taking notice.
  4. Take a walk. Bring awareness to each of the five senses. Feel your feet on the ground. Smell and then taste the air. Exploring any one of the senses can fill us with gratitude.
  5. Child’s Pose.  Take this posture either right before bed or first thing in the morning.  Breathe, stretch your arms out long, and let the forehead rest on your mat or bed or floor. Roll the forehead right to left, giving it a little massage. This action tells the nervous system that all is ok.  Child_pose_gratitude
  6. Set an intention/mantra/thought.  When you start to feel less than grateful, you could come back to a simple thought or phrase to remind you of what you noted earlier when you were feeling more calm. It can be super simple: I am. Or a bit more detailed:  I am grateful.  I am grateful for my socks. (whatever works for you).
  7. Hug it out. Hug your friend. Spoon your partner. Snuggle with your pet. Heck, embrace yourself (research shows it works!).  If you are wondering what I mean, wiki can help!

Let me know what you think of these ideas.  And please tell me what works for you, especially if it’s not on this list.

Final thought:  Save this page and use it on Black Friday.  Don’t’ worry, I’ll send you a little reminder ;).

Be well, my friends.

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