The Yoga and that Meditation Thing.
The sun's intensity and time with us, fades as fall and winter arrives. As this process occurs. Similar to the trees, plants and animals that spend their time outdoors. We begin to change our routines. The changes may not be as noticeable as the leaves bright oranges and reds that appear at the end of the branches. Then the discarding of them. Or the furry creatures who scurry around gather food for the coming months.
We may focus more on our work and less on ourselves. We wake up in the dark. Head to the office just around sun rise. And head home after the sun has sent its finally beams of light in our direction. Family. Netflix. They all begin to fill the space of the outside adventures.
This year as I have made New England home. I have found myself fighting the urge to curl up next to the fire place with my pups. And binge watch every series that Netflix and Xfinity offers. With my favorite playground becoming a bit more of an effort to explore. Due to the chilly water and air temps. Wetsuits and cold weather gear replace board shorts. Anyone that has battled with a wetsuit knows how deterring this can be. However I have found a few ways around this.
Practicing yoga indoors.
As the chirping of the birds sounds. My favorite alarm on my phone. I awake. Turn the alarm off. Hang with the pups and get them sorted. I unroll my mat. Burn a bit of sage and sandal wood. And begin to move.
Adopting a principal called the 20, 20, 20 morning routine. 20 minutes of movement, 20 minutes of self reflecting and 20 minutes of self growth. The yoga helps me cover two out of three of these. Helping kick start my day into a positive light.
If you are new to yoga, it can be intimidating, preventing us from doing it. Like those we find on google or our favorite streaming device. Instead, try out these and see if they help kickstart your morning.
Unroll a yoga mat or place a thick towel or blanket down. You want your body to feel comfy while getting into this pose. You can also grab a pillow for support, we will get into that in a bit. With the mat, towel or blanket laid out. Make your way onto your hands and knees. I like to spread my knees out to the edge of the mat. And let my big toes touch. But see how your body feels. Reach your hands out to the front of the mat and think of bringing your booty to your heels. If you have to slide your hands back thats ok. Your chest will rest on your thighs. If this is uncomfortable you can put a pillow or block between your legs providing support. This is child's pose.
Cat and Cow Poses
If you have the pillow between your legs. Remove it. Bring your palms back down to the mat below your shoulders. Knees below your hips. You will be in a kneeling position, with a flat back, arms straight, thighs straight. On your inhale slightly bend your elbows, drop your chin down to the mat. And think of pushing your chest through your arms. Begin to tilt your chin up to the ceiling, looking up.Your booty will do the same and the back will look like a U. Not really but that is what we want to think about. This is cow pose. The exhale of the breath will add the second part. Tuck the chin towards the chest and bring the belly button into the body and up to the ceiling. Your body will look like that of a scared cat. This is cat pose.
Downward Facing Dog.
From your hands and knees. Shift your weight into your palms. Begin to lift the hips up to the sky. Straightening your legs. If his is too much keep a bend in the knees. The body will resemble and upside down v. Allow the head to hang heavy and look back at the feet. Think of bringing the chest towards the thighs and the heels down to the mat. This is downward facing dog.
Shift your weight forward into a high plank or push up position. Keep the hands below the shoulders. You will have your weight on the balls of the feet. And the body will be a straight line from the top of the head to the tail bone. Engage the core, think of flexing your abs for that instagram picture. Bend your arms and keep the elbows glued to the ribs. This prevents should and elbow injuries. A common misconception is the elbows bend out and away from the body. You will be lowering yourself down to your belly. Keep the hands below the shoulders and just as we did with cow pose think of pushing your chest through your hands. The elbows can stay bent, if so keep the chin tucked and length in the spine. If the arms straighten, the chin can lift. But keep the thighs, shins and top of the feet connected to the mat. This is cobra pose.
This is the hardest of all poses. As it requires us to sit in stillness. Be with our thoughts. But it has the biggest rewards. If you skip all the others and just do this, you will grow your understanding into mental strength. Create a comfortable place to sit. I use a block or pillow under my booty. And sit cross legged. But find what is comfortable for you. Straight legs can work too. Or even laying down. However you are. Exhale your breath out. Slow and steady. Like a sigh. Keep pushing the air out until you have none left. As you begin to inhale bring it in through your nose. Smooth and easy. Repeat the exhale. And then the inhale. As you repeat this process there are a couple of options. You can count your exhale breath, you want it longer than the inhale. The other option is think of a few words of positivity. My favorite is going over what I am grateful for. It may sound silly at first, but think of the simple things. Grateful you can sit and take a moment. Grateful for the cup of coffee you will have. Grateful today is Friday. And build on it. The mind will begin to pull at you. Reminding you how busy you are. And how much you have to get done, right now. Smile. Breath. Try not to attach to the thoughts, get back to your gratitude. Counting. Or words of inspiration.
Try this for 5 breaths at first. Then 10. And so on. Eventually you may set your alarm for 5 minutes, 10, 20 or what works for you. This is Meditation Pose.