Play & Unwind

Isabella Gutiérrez, @isagutierrez podcast producer and certified yoga instructor  

These last couple of weeks have been tough. With the news of the Supreme Court’s decision to strip people of their rights and bodily autonomy and the endless political attack on LGBTQIA+ lives, it is increasingly challenging to deal with the stressors of “living in unprecedented times.” The pandemic has brought up BIG changes in our lives. People across the U.S. have moved, lost work, and many of us have lost a loved one. These stressors can have a negative impact on our sleep and our daily lives. A good way to chill out is to connect with yourself through movement. Studies have shown that practicing yoga reduces stress and anxiety and sharpens brain cognition. Below are a couple of ways to connect to your body through yoga.

Ground yourself by starting your day with Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar). Play music and dance your way over to your mat. 

  • Stand at the top of your mat and ground down through the soles of your feet by spreading your toes and putting your weight into your heels.
  • Inhale and raise your arms overhead and lean back pressing your hips forward.
  • Bend forward with your knees slightly bent.
  • Come up halfway to a flat back.
  • Palms down step your feet back to a plank.
  • Lower knees, chest, and chin down with the elbows in.
  • Press the tops of your feet down and pressing into your palms lift your chest up.
  • Exhale and lift your tailbone back into downward facing dog.
  • Walk your feet forward to the top of your mat.
  • Come up halfway to a flat back.
  • Inhale, raise your arms up and stand tall. 

Recharge and unwind by lighting a candle to begin a breathwork (pranayama) practice.

  • Begin by laying on your back or sitting comfortably in a chair or on the ground with a pillow under your sitz bones. Close your eyes. 
  • Set an intention. It can be a word or a phrase that comes to mind. 
  • Place a hand on your belly and the other hand on your heart or rest your hands at your sides with the palms facing up. 
  • Slowly inhale for four counts.
  • Hold your breath for four counts.
  • Exhale for four counts.
  • Hold your breath for four counts.
  • Repeat. Finish when you feel calm and you are ready to open your eyes.

By starting or ending your day with yoga asanas and breathwork, you will feel energized and more relaxed. Whether you practice for 10 minutes or 60 minutes, take a moment each day to connect with yourself.

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