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Mindful Moments: Week 5

 

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 13 / Moving Forward:

“Beautify your inner dialogue. 
Beautify your inner world with love, light, and compassion. 
Life will be beautiful.”
 ― Amit Ray

 

Breathe in, and out. 

Find a place suitable for reflection and inward thinking. Have some writing material with you.

Being here, in this moment, repeat the above phrase 3 or more times. Repeat either out loud or in your head, whichever way resonates with you. Eyes open or closed.

These past months have been a journey. 

Inhale deeply, and take an audible exhale out.

Throughout this journey, I hope you have been gentle and kind to yourself. I hope you have found plenty of time to practice self-care and tune-in to your inner self. This quote is a reminder that our lives are as beautiful as we allow them to be. Our perception is rooted in our inner  beliefs and thoughts. The way we treat our inner selves has a direct effect on how we respond to the outside world. I hope that your thoughts and beliefs are kind and fill you up with love, compassion, and light. 

As our last reflection of the series, I encourage you to continue practicing self-care and awareness as we move forward. 

Reflect on the self-care strategies that you have practiced over these past months. Here are some self-care examples to help guide your thinking; journaling, drawing, coloring, movement, breathwork, the outdoors, etc. When you have some practices in mind, I invite you to write these down and reflect on how they made you feel. Did they leave you feeling grounded, refreshed, or uplifted? This reflection will be a helpful reminder of the self-care practices that we enjoy and find beneficial to relieve stress.

I hope that you have found some of the ideas in this series to be helpful and accessible in your daily lives. May your personal journey through life be full of love and light. 

Namaste.

 

Day 14 / Ratio Breathing:

~ Find a space in your home where you can lie down 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, lie down in a comfortable position. Let the soles of your feet gently rest on the floor with bent knees to keep from falling asleep.

~ 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 then up above the head, reaching behind you. Exhale, bring the palms together and lower the hands to the chest letting the thumbs touch the chest. Continue to breathe in this posture.

~Begin to notice how the body feels. Are there certain areas of tension in the body? Maybe the neck or shoulders have been feeling tight lately. If there is a space in the body that has been holding tension, I invite you to focus on this space as we breathe today.

~ As you become aware of this space, imagine your breath entering in and expanding this space, breaking up tension that you release with your exhale. Today we will be doing a ratio breathing exercise. This means that we will be measuring our breaths in and out, taking an equal amount of time in both directions. We will start with 1 second breaths, increase to 4 second breaths, and then return back to the one second breaths.

~Read along or listen to the audio guide you through this breath sequence: 

~ Breathe in for 1 second, then out for 1 second. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 2 seconds, then out for 2 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 4 seconds, then out for 4 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 2 seconds, then out for 2 seconds. Repeat 2 more times.

~ Breathe in for 1 second, then out for 1 second. Repeat 2 more times.

 

~ Slowly drift back to the natural flow of your breath. Take a deep inhale and lift the arms out to the sides and then up above the head, reaching behind you. Exhale audibly, bring the palms together and lower the hands to the chest letting the thumbs touch the chest. Then lower the hands toward the floor.

~Gently press yourself up into a seated position. Be with your breath for a few cycles. Notice any differences in the body.

Focusing on specific areas of the body while breathing helps to relax that area of the body and release tension that may have been wound up in that space. Ratio breathing helps us become more connected to our breath and if practiced often can reduce shortness of breath and create greater lung capacity. Breath capacity varies from person to person. Choose a maximum length of breath that allows the body to expand while remaining relaxed and comfortable.

 

Day 15 / Vinyasa:

Vinyasa is defined as a flowing sequence of motion in coordination with the breath. Typical Western vinyasa flows from plank position, caturanga (flow of the torso towards the floor), cobra (or upward dog), and then downward dog. This sequence considers counter poses to maintain balance in the body throughout practice. Keeping this in mind, if there are postures that you have found to be beneficial to your body, you can include these in a vinyasa of your own. This sequence can be practiced at any time of the day, but I would recommend practicing in the morning or early afternoon as this sequence can be very energizing to the body. 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.

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