The summer days are busy with vacations, road trips, camps, family time, swimming, and work! How can we manage to give time to ourselves when the days seem to get away from us? And now school is beginning and activities are picking up. Where does the time go and how do we make time for self care?
As a new mother, I rarely get any time for myself. My best efforts are usually interrupted for a breastfeeding session. When I remember, I make myself do a little yoga, at least a few poses daily. Sometimes I roll out my mat or I do a few breathing exercises and stretch when I watch Lucca play. A little goes a long way!
Here are a few of my favorite “go-to” yoga poses to practice everyday:
1. Balasana – child’s pose. Balasana is beautiful for grounding while it gentle stretches the back, shoulders, hips, and legs. Spread the knees wider than the hips and allow the toes to kiss for a more relaxing version. Take at least 5 full breaths.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana – downward-facing dog. Downward dog is not a resting pose, but an active one! I encourage my students to wiggle a lot here, bending the knees, “peddle” the feet so one heel touches the ground at a time, and press into the fingers and palms (avoid collapsing into the wrists). This popular pose stretches the hamstrings, back, and ankles and strengthens the shoulders, back, arms, and belly. Try holding it, or wiggling around in it, for 5 breaths or more. It is invigorating!
3. Supta Baddha Konasana – reclining bound angle. Ahh, this one is one of my very favorites! It is a restorative hip opening with many options to open the heart for a chest stretch. Try this one in bed with pillows under the knees/thighs so you are able to stay here for 3-10 minutes. The hips hold a lot of tension, and this pose helps to relieve it! The feet come closer in for more intensity or push the feet away from the body for less intensity.
4. Cat / cow. This is the main stretch sequence I do if and when I experience back pain! THESE TWO POSES TOGETHER ARE INCREDIBLE. They massage the entire spine, chest, belly, and throat. Do 10 rounds of breath (inhale on cow and exhale on cat), and let me know how wonderful you feel afterwards. *Avoid dropping the weight of your hands into the wrist by pressing into the fingertips and palms.
5. Seated Meditation in Sukhasana – easy pose. Meditation is for calming the mind, reflection, and non-judgmental observation. Just breathe. It’s that simple and that complex. Begin with just 5 minutes of breathing. When the mind drifts somewhere else, notice it, and quietly return to observing the breath.
In yoga there is no pain. I repeat, no pain! An intense stretch may cause tension or discomfort but you should never feel tingling, numbness, or stabbing pain. If this pain ever occurs, stop the stretch, try again, or come back to it another day.
Try these poses every day, and watch tightness (and maybe a little stress) go away! And feel free to do them a few times each or add in other poses. These are all in my EBOOK: Healing Yoga Volume 1, so grab a copy! sarieyoga.com/healingyogaebook
Happy yogaing 🙂