Want to add more YOGA to your life?
The physical and mental benefits of a yoga practice are indisputable. We all know that yoga makes us feel great – it works from the inside out. Linking our attention to our breath, then adding in a bit (or a lot) of movement is a formula for glowing health. If you want to do more yoga, start by adding a little bit to your morning routine.
We all manage to shower, brush our teeth, walk the dog each morning. Put five to ten minutes aside each day to start your day with yoga. Stop making excuses. You can always find a reason not to do something. So don’t think about it, start practicing. This might mean waking five minutes earlier, or not hitting the snooze button. Rather than thinking of five minutes less sleep, think of feeling fifty times better during the day!
Five-minute daily practice:
Assume the position: Sit comfortably with your spine straight. If your knees are higher than your hip-bones, sit on a block or pillow. This will keep your hips for getting tired and allow you to sit up straight. Check your face, jaw, shoulders – are they relaxed and soft?
Open your day: Start by giving thanks. That’s right. Say thank you, feel gratitude. Set your ego aside. Give thanks for all the aspects of your life. An attitude of gratitude strengthens your immune system and decreases inflammation.
Spend 1 minute paying attention to your breath. Set a timer if you need to. Can you keep your attention focused on your breathing? If you become distracted, harness the thoughts and bring your attention back to your breath.
Lie down on your back. Put something heavy like a book on your belly. As you inhale raise the book and as you exhale feel it release downwards, without creating tension. Your upper belly (above the navel) should be soft and free. Breathe this way 25 times.
Now return to your sitting position.
Practice note: Adjust your breath. Make sure that you are using your lungs to breathe. Seem obvious? Are your ribs moving? Is your belly moving? You should keep your lower belly (bellow your navel) still. The area above your navel should be relaxed and free. Breathe deeply 15 times.
Take 25 breaths where you exhale for double the count of the inhale. Inhale 4 counts, exhale 8 counts. This practice will help to relax the mind. See if you can keep your attention from wandering.
Do this each day, and let us know how you feel!