Back in d’groove

Okay gang, here we go again: back to school, back to regular schedules, back to our post-summer real-life routines. For some of us it’s a big shift, while for others, it’s a more subtle shift. But, nevertheless, there is a shift occurring: if nothing else, we are in the beginning stages of the weather changing from summer to fall with fewer hours of daylight, and that definitely can affect our internal clock, our mood, and our energy level. No matter how drastic the changes this time of year brings, with a little awareness and fine-tuning we can still maintain our wellness routines and take good care of ourselves.

Here are a few quick yoga and reiki fixes to help keep you practicing and to help bring your practice into your daily life.

Set a timer (on your phone or on your computer – Insight Timer is great) every hour as a reminder to pause and do one, or a combination, or all of the following exercises.

Screen break: Close your eyes and rub your hands together to generate some heat. As you are doing this, set a simple intention to soothe and bring ease into this moment. Cup each hand over each eye. Breathe slow, easy, full breaths. Inhale and let your belly relax and receive the breath. Exhale completely and relax your jaw. Take 8 to 10 breaths like this before you go back to whatever you were working on. With each inhale, see how it can nourish and feed you. With each exhale, see how it can help you connect with the sense of ease and deep release.

Chair hip release: Sit on the edge of your chair, ankles directly under your knees. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, allowing your outer right hip to begin to open. Place your right hand underneath your right knee to support it. Inhale and lengthen your spine skyward. Exhale and hinge forward from your hips. Continue to lengthen your spine forward through the top of your head. When you can’t hinge from your hips any further, soften your neck and head down a bit, close your eyes, relax your jaw and breathe. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths, enjoying the wave-like pulsation of your breath. Come back up slowly and repeat on the other side.

Chair hip release 2: Sit on the very edge of your chair, ankles directly under your knees. Slide a little bit toward the right edge of your chair. Walk your right foot slightly out to the right, as well, so that it is a little wider than the chair leg. Bend your right knee and extend your thigh back, place the top of your right foot on the floor. Make sure you are working to create a long line from the front of your right hip to your knee, and that the top of your right foot (not the inside or outside edge ) is on the ground. Place your hands behind you on the back edge of the chair seat. Widen across your chest and draw the inner borders of your shoulder blades together. Lift and open your heart; you can even lift your gaze upwards. Simultaneously, drop your pubic bone downward so that you create an opening throughout the front of your body. Breathe 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat to the other side.

Chair twist: Sit side saddle on your chair to the right. Scoot again to the edge of the chair; ankles directly under your knees; toes and knees pointed straight ahead. Inhale and sit up nice and tall, making sure that you don’t round through your lower back. Exhale and twist to the right. Place your hands on either side of the chair back. Inhale and re-lengthen the spine. Exhale and slide your right hip back a little bit and let your left hip slide a little bit forward so that you are twisting through the whole length of your spine, not just the middle and upper back. Breathe 3 to 5 more breaths and switch sides.

If you have more space, time and privacy you might try a lunge either using your desk or the wall for support. Stand facing your desk or wall with your hands on the desk/wall and lunge one leg back. Make sure your front knee stays directly above your bottom ankle. Breathe 3 to 5 breaths and then change sides.

You could also do a wall dog. Stand facing the wall with your hands on the wall and walk your feet back until your torso is parallel with the ground. Place your hands slightly higher than your shoulders. If your lower back is rounded, bring your hands, arms and torso more upright, so instead of being parallel with the ground you’re at more of a 45 degree angle. Breathe 5 breaths.

And if you are on your feet for a good portion of the day you might try legs up the wall pose. Lie on your back with your tush a few inches away from the wall, slide your legs up the wall. You can stay like this (it will feel like an upside down L) for 5 minutes, or you could “V” your legs open for part of the time to gently stretch your inner thigh muscles (adductors). Whatever you choose, let this be a time to rest, particularly your legs. You might also notice your mind getting a little quieter and your body gently releasing the stress of the day. Breathe steadily and easily.

I hope these few poses help you ease into the change of season and schedule, and allow you to keep your well-being a priority as you re-negotiate the balance of work, play, family, friends, life and everything else.

Peace, Love, and Bliss,

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