Welcome to week two of Hitting Your Reset Button , a series focusing on finding mindfulness and a fresh start in our daily lives. Last week we looked at the seven chakras, learned how to move them into alignment and get our energy centered and balanced once again. Now that our chakras and energy are flowing, what’s next? This week is all about using yoga for flexibility, using movement to improve our wellness and loosen up our energy.
I would love for you to get up off your couch, and stretch and move your bones and muscles. A great way to find new movement is to use yoga for flexibility and flow. One of my favorite lyrics from a song is “Where your focus goes, your energy flows,” from “Energy” By Disclosure. When I heard this, I thought, “Yes, that’s it! So simple and obvious… I’m making this one of my catch phrases I mindfully share with my tribe!”
The links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren’t entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you’re feeling better. Regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins while taking your mind off of your worries, allowing you to get off the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety.
While our gyms and yoga studios are closed, what’s the best way to get our movement fix? Think about creating a little space in your home and delegate it for regular yoga practice, working out, and/or meditation. In my own house, I’ve managed to convert a tiny office into a workout space. It’s small, but I have pride of ownership regardless. If your square footage is limited, try finding room outside or at a nearby park.
The standard yoga mat measures 68 inches long and 24 inches wide. It’s not a ton of space, but it’s the perfect amount you need to move your body, relax your mind and elevate your mood. Hop on your mat, bring both hands together at heart center, pressing your palms together to touch. Close your eyes and set your intention for this movement experience. An intention can be a word that resonates with you (for example peace, gratitude, or breathe) or try dedicating your practice to someone who needs a little light and love fueled into their lives and send this energy and vibration out to them.
Here are a few asanas, or yoga postures, to bring flexibility and movement.
Yoga Postures for Flexibility and Movement
Let’s start standing on our mat… take a deep inhale… hold it at the top for a few seconds, exhale & let it go. Think of letting the air out of a balloon.
1. Tree Pose
This classic standing pose may help you focus inward, quieting racing thoughts.
- tibialis anterior
How to Do Tree Pose:
- From standing, bear your weight with your right foot and slowly lift your right foot off of the ground.
- Slowly turn the sole of your left foot toward the inside of your left leg.
- Place it on the outside of your left ankle, calf, or thigh.
- Avoid pressing your foot into your knee.
- Bring your hands into any comfortable position. This could be in prayer position in front of your heart or hanging alongside your sides.
- Hold this pose for up to 2 minutes.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Triangle Pose
This energizing yoga pose for flexibility can help ease tension in your neck and back.
- latissimus dorsi
- internal oblique
- gluteus maximus and medius
How to Do Triangle Pose:
- Come into a standing position with your feet wider than your hips.
- Face your left toes forward and your right toes in at a slight angle.
- Lift your arms to extend out from your shoulders to your sides. Your palms should face down.
- Extend your torso forward as you reach forward with your left hand.
- Hinge at your hip joint to bring your right hip back. Take your left hand to your leg, the floor, or a block.
- Extend your right arm up toward the ceiling.
- Gaze in any comfortable direction.
- Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
- Then do the opposite side.
From standing at top your mat, bring your arms out to a “T,” inhale, exhale, then swan dive down into a forward fold. Inhale and lift halfway (finger tips to shins, flatten your back, think of a table top), then exhale crouch and curl (squat down, let your tailbone and heels meet in the middle). Hold this for an eight count and then have a seat on your mat.
3. Puppy Pose
This heart-opening pose stretches and lengthens the spine to relieve tension.
- erector spinae
How to Do Puppy Pose:
- Come into a tabletop position.
- Extend your hands forward a few inches and sink your buttocks down toward your heels.
- Press into your hands and engage your arms muscles, keeping your elbows lifted.
- Gently rest your forehead on the floor.
- Allow your chest to open and soften during this pose.
- Hold this pose for up to two minutes
4. Forward Seated Fold
This pose is thought to calm the mind while relieving anxiety. If you feel that your thoughts have been scattered throughout the week, take this time to turn inward and come back to your intention, we set at the start.
- pelvic muscles
- erector spinae
- gluteus maximus
How to Do Forward Seated Fold:
- Sit on the edge of a folded blanket or cushion with your legs straight out in front of you.
- You may keep a slight bend in your knees if you have tight hamstrings.
- Inhale to lift up your arms.
- Slowly hinge at your hips to extend forward, resting your hands anywhere on your body or the floor.
- Remain in this pose for up to 5 minutes.
5. Fish Pose
This backbend can help relieve tightness in your chest and back.
- hip flexors
How to Do Fish Pose:
- Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Place your hands underneath your buttocks with your palms facing down.
- Squeeze your elbows together and expand your chest.
- Then lean back onto your forearms and elbows, pressing into your arms to stay lifted in your chest.
- If it’s comfortable, you may let your head hang back toward the floor or rest it on a block or cushion.
- Hold this pose for up to one minute.
6. Legs Up The Wall Pose
This restorative pose allows for complete relaxation of your mind and body.
- pelvic muscles
- lower back
- front torso
- back of the neck
How to Do Legs Up The Wall Pose:
- Sit with your right side against a wall.
- Then lie back as your swing your legs up along the wall.
- Your buttocks should be as close to the wall as is comfortable for you. This could be right up against the wall or a few inches away.
- Relax and soften in your back, chest, and neck. Allow your body to melt into the floor.
- Hold this pose for up to 10 minutes.
Using yoga for flexibility and motion can help reintroduce so much energy back into our lives, especially at a time when so many of us are experiencing some stagnation from staying home. Get up and move today, even for just a few minutes, and see what a difference it can make.
Next week in the Hitting Your Reset Button series, we’ll be looking at aromatherapy and the way scent can overhaul your environment and your energy. Just like chakras and yoga, I’m consistently asked if aromatherapy can make a discernible difference in a person’s life. Stay tuned, come back next week and we’ll unpack this amazing olfactory experience together.