Mindful Moments: Week 4
While these are times that can fill us with worry and uncertainty, we are hoping to bring some ease and refreshing energy to you and your family at home. Over the next few weeks, Kendall will be creating and sharing weekly mindfulness practices. Kendall is a member of our team and a local yoga instructor in our community. Each practice will be about 10 - 20 minutes in length, offering an opportunity for self-care, and mindfulness. From breathwork to journal reflections, we’ll move with you, day to day, through these times of uncertainty. Be sure to check out the wonderful mindfulness exercises from our entire Mindful Moments series in case you missed them!
Day 10 / Nature's Beauty:
We have had a few gorgeous, sunny days recently. It’s so nice to be outside even just for a little bit. This exercise is created to be practiced outdoors. To awaken our appreciation for the beauty around us. Whether on the porch, on a blanket, or on a walk, this exercise is created to tune our senses to the beautiful, small things in nature that may often go unnoticed. If the weather is not desirable for you today, maybe snuggle up next to a window and slightly open it up. I invite you to bring some writing material, and maybe your favorite tea.
~ Find a space outside, or close to a window. Find a comfortable position.
~ Slowly bring your eyes to a close, and bring your focus to the flow of your natural breath. Breathe for 3 cycles, or until you feel a sense of calm.
~ Gently open your eyes, and notice around 4 things that you see. Maybe you did not notice these things before. Or maybe you prefer to focus on 1 or 2 things, instead. If you would like to, write or draw these things into your notebook.
~ Notice 3 things that you can hear. Keep your eyes open or let them drift back to a close. If you would like, write or draw these things as well.
~ Notice 2 things that you can feel, whether through physical touch or from within.
~ Notice 1 thing that you can smell.
Journal about your experience. How did sitting still, and noticing small things make you feel?
Remind yourself that nature is always here. Remind yourself that there is beauty in the small things. I hope you find time to see the beauty in small things today, and all days.
Day 11 / Channel Clearing / Nadi Sodhana:
~ Find a space in your home where you can sit without being disturbed. Maybe that is a space that is closed off and quiet or maybe it is a one that is surrounded with noise. Both are good.
~ Once you find this space, whether noisy or quiet, find a comfortable seat for yourself. This could be with legs crossed, or extended.
~ As you're here in this comfortable position, lower your gaze slightly, maybe you close them completely.
~ Begin to notice your breath. Notice it without needing to change it. Notice how the breath is moving in your body. Is it moving in the belly or maybe the chest? Simply notice.
~ To move into alignment, take a deep inhale and lift the arms out to the sides and up above the head, reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Exhale, bring the palms together and lower the hands to the chest letting the thumbs touch the chest. Continue to breathe in this posture.
~ With your dominant hand, take the tips of your pointer finger and middle finger to the palm. We will use the thumb and the index finger to open and close nostrils throughout the breathing practice. If this hand position does not work for you, feel free to change it around.
~ Here’s how one cycle will flow:
- Inhale through both nostrils
- Exhale through the left nostril (gently pressing the right closed)
- Inhale through the left nostril
- Exhale right nostril
- Inhale right nostril
- Exhale left nostril
- Inhale both nostrils
~ Feel free to listen as I guide you through 3 cycles.
~ Practicing this breathing technique purifies the body and brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The left hemisphere is commonly associated with math & logistical thought, and the right hemisphere is commonly associated with creativity & intuition.
The right nostril is linked to the left hemisphere, as the left nostril is linked with the right. Some people practice this technique with the intention to bring more energy into a specific hemisphere of the brain, hoping to activate more of its unique properties.
Day 12 / Opening the Neck & Shoulders:
Day to day activities typically include a lot of looking down. Whether we are typing, texting, cooking, or reading, this downward posture can lead to strain in the neck. During this sequence, we slowly stretch and strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles. Our shoulders also hold tension, especially if we’re doing repetitive motion on a daily basis. This sequence can be practiced at any time of the day. Feel free to hold or repeat postures as your body needs. I encourage you to move slowly, paying attention to how your body responds to each posture. If you are ever feeling uncomfortable, if something hurts, or if you feel that a posture is not bringing benefit to your body, please choose another posture. Your body knows best.