I reached under the couch to get the cup that had escaped my grasp. There I was down on the rug on all fours, when I realized how good it felt to stretch out my arm as I reached. It was the perfect position for two minute stress relief.
I sat back and started stretching my back, did a few side bends and began breathing more deeply and more slowly than I probably had all morning. It was a revelation and felt so good. Yoga can be that simple – taking in the moment and extending out, feeling great in the body, actually experiencing your body in a day full of thoughts and work and activity.
I invite you right now to do the same – wherever you may be. As I remind people on my Drivetime Yoga CD, check in. Notice what’s inside you and around you. You may discover that you’re thirsty, hungry, need a break. You may find you have back pain from sitting. Take the time to sit up and breathe deeply, deliciously. If you’re working at home or have the space, step away from the monitor and get down on the floor.
Two minutes, five steps to more energy and back pain relief:
- Lie on your back with your legs out straight and fold your arms across your chest. Gently shake your head back and forth to release any tension in your neck. Open your mouth and mimic some big chewing motions to release tension in your jaw. Breathe deeply and experience stress relief as you breathe it out.
- After a moment or two, switch arms so the opposite one is resting on top. Breathe and let your spine, your shoulder blades sink into the floor.
- Bring your knees up, with your feet flat comfortably close to your bottom. Place your hands on top of your knees and start ‘stirring’ your knees in a clockwise motion slowly. Rotate the knees several times, releasing tension in the hip socket. Breathe and then rotate the opposite way a few times. Then, if it’s comfortable, let your knees separate and invite them to sink down to the floor away from your torso. Bring the soles of your feet together and let gravity do the work. Breathe and rest.
- After a few moments, bring your knees back up and together. Let them drop to one side in a spinal twist. Work to keep your shoulders on the floor (at least keep that intention). Place one hand on top of your thighs inviting it to sink deeper. Breathe. After a few moments use that hand to gently guide the knees up and then release them to the other side, placing the opposite hand on top of the opposite thigh. Your other arm can rest on the floor at about a 45 degree angle.
- In a minute or so, use your hand to guide your knees back up. Straighten out your legs and lie on the floor, simply resting a moment. Allow your body to integrate the lower back exercises. Then roll over to your right side and slowly guide yourself up to sitting, then stand. Even a break of two minute stress relief can make a huge difference.
Copyright April 2011, Elaine Masters, RYT, Trip Wellness Specialist, Award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and Flytime Yoga. All rights reserved. Books, audio and more available at: www.DrivetimeYoga.com