This is my first blog since the outbreak of a global health pandemic. Needless to say, my head is swimming with thoughts, uncertainty, confusion, and ideas. If you are like me, you need yoga now more than ever. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite poses that I have dubbed Covid-asana that may aid in easing and calming your mind, body, and spirit while in self isolation.
This seated meditation pose is a great check in for the spine. If you are staying at or working from home, it is a good idea to always check in with your posture. Our furniture at home is not designed to support the structure of our spines and can sacrifice our physical and mental health. Sitting in this pose allows you to sit with a tall and supported spine.
-Sit on your floor, crossing your legs. Notice your hips and allow both your tail bone and pubic to be pointing directly down. Sometimes the hips can tuck too far forward or back. When they are pointing too far back we feel lower back pain or tension.
-Draw your shoulder down your back and lift your chest. This takes pressure off of the spine.
-Finally, bring your hands either to prayer or resting on your thighs.
-Sit and breath for a few moments and notice how you feel. It is likely that you are able to take deeper breaths when your spine is sitting tall.
“Find balance and you’ll find courage.” Tree, or any other balance pose, will allow you to find your center. Balancing requires that you come into the present moment. This can be very beneficial and ease some of the uncertainty and anxiety we might be feeling during a pandemic.
-Standing on one foot/leg, bring the opposite foot to rest either on the ankle, calf, or inner thigh
-Keep your low belly engaged and draw your shoulders down your back.
-Keep your focus on something that is not moving in order to stay still. This aids in becoming more mindful
-Don’t forget to breathe and do the other side.
Forward folds are great for cooling the body. Coolness in the body promotes calmness and de-stressing. Plus, they just feel good!
-Begin standing with feet hip-width-distance apart. Depending your own body (everyone is different), either bend your knees a little or a lot.
-Begin to henge and fold at the hip points and let your torso waterfall over your legs. Bend your knees enough that your belly comes in contact with your thighs.
-Ground down into the earth with you feet and legs as you gently raise your hips towards the ceiling.
-If it feels like there is pulling in the hamstrings bend the knees even more.
-Allow the head and neck to be heavy, with the crown of the head pointing toward the floor. Allow arms to either dangle as dead weight or grab opposite elbows and picture frame your head.
Feeling tired while at home? Backbends are naturally energizing and awakening. We all need backbends right now when our beds are calling us to nap during self quarantine. Creating the action of the spine and chest opening invites old energy to be released so you can get work done! Let vitality be restored and try to incorporate a backbend into your morning routine.
-Begin on your lying down on your belly. Let the tops of your feet rest on the floor and push down into the ground with the pubic bone. Bring your hands next to ribs just under your shoulders with elbows hugging in by your sides.
-On an inhalation, begin to push the hands into the mat to straighten the arms and lift the chest and belly off of the floor.
-Draw the belly in and engage the core while pushing the chest forward. Remember to keep the collar bone long. If it feels like there is pinching in the lower back, attempt to bring the lower ribs back into alignment. It is possible that the ribs are popping outward.
-Breathe into the pose for as long as it comfortable and gently ease back down to the floor.
Pigeon pose is the heartiest of all hip openers! Hip openers are essential in a time of global pandemic because much of the tension and anxiety that we feel lives directly in the hips. Our hips are also where our felt sense of safety and security lie. By allowing the hips to release and expand we can feel more connected to the material world while we are isolated.
-Begin from Downward Facing Dog, bend the right knee and bring it through to meet the right wrist. Allow the shin to come down onto the floor at a diagonal.
-Sink the hips down towards the mat with the back leg resting long behind you on the floor. You can put a blanket or towel underneath the right hip for support.
-Either stay up with the torso or bring it down to the mat and rest. Hold for as long as feels good.
-Remember to breathe and do the other side!
“When you reach your edge, soften. Soften until you lift through the constraints and can create a new rhythm, a new route, and new release.” -Victoria Erickson