Che’ Mckelvin, Site Manager
Meditation is a great practice for improving your self-esteem and self-awareness, detoxing your mind and increasing motivation towards life.
To begin a meditation session, find a quiet and comfortable area. Turn off TV, loud music, or anything that can serve as a distraction. If complete silence is not ideal, playing soft-toned sounds such as ocean waves or instruments is also an option.
First, let’s focus on self-centering and letting go. In a seated position, close your eyes, sit up tall, and roll your shoulder blades back. Exhale all the air out of your lungs. Begin silently counting to 4 on your next inhale through your nostrils, hold that breath for 4 seconds, and exhale out of your mouth completely for 6 seconds. Repeat 4 full rounds.
Maintain an upright posture and keep eyes closed. Alternating Nostril Breathing helps decrease stress and anxiety by balancing the left and right sides of the body. Place your right thumb on your right nostril and your ring finger on your left nostril. Simply let your index and middle finger rest on your forehead. Close your right nostril and inhale only through your left for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, then exhale through your right nostril for a count of 4. Reverse sides by breathing in through the right nostril, holding, and exhaling out through left, again using the 4 second counts. Complete 6 full rounds on both sides
Yoga is known to increase flexibility, muscle strength and overall toning of your body. Practicing yoga will also improve body respiration and energy flow, balance metabolism, aid in weight loss, and promote cardio and circulatory health.
Here is a simple yoga flow that will provide support and help you relax, detox, and deal with stress.
Mountain Pose– Tadasana
Begin by lifting up all of your toes, part them out, and then drop them back down to your mat, creating a wide, solid base. Engage your quadriceps by drawing them upward, causing your kneecaps to rise. Keep your core tight. Stand tall by bringing your chest forward and stack your shoulders over your pelvis. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then release your shoulder blades down and back towards the rear of the room. Allow your arms to hang naturally with a slight bend in the elbows and palms facing forward. Lift your neck long, your chin at a neutral level, and the crown of your head rising toward the ceiling. Be bold and feel strong!! Hold this pose for a total of 5 full and deep breaths.
Standing Forward Fold– Uttanasana
After your last exhale in Tadasana, maintain posture with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and exhale while slowly hinging at the hips. Beginning at your head, neck, then shoulders, lower forward reaching down toward your toes. Once you’re there, let everything go. Loosen your upper body by hanging like a rag doll or holding opposite elbows with opposite hands. From either standpoint, sway gently from side to side. Shake your head yes and no. Feel the heaviness release from your shoulders, upper back, and head. Close your eyes and release any thoughts. Hold the pose while taking 5 deep breaths.
Chair Pose– Utkatasana
After your last exhale in Uttanasana, inhale and then exhale to bring your feet together. Begin to bend both knees, sending your glutes back to sit on an imaginary chair. To keep balance, shift your weight between the inner and outer edge of each foot and between the ball and heel. Engage your legs and hips by squeezing legs tightly toward each other. Inhale and raise your arms overhead with your palms turned toward each other. Draw your lower ribs toward your hip points by shifting your pelvis level out. Maintain a flat back and a tight core. Finding your balance, hold the posture for 5 full breaths. Just breathe– don’t overthink it. In your last exhale in Utkatasana, push firmly through your feet to extend your legs and release your arms down by your sides. Flow all three postures in listed order two more times.
Cool Down Yoga Postures
After completing three rounds of Mountain Pose, Forward Fold and Chair Pose, ease your body and mind in the following cool down postures.
Start on your hands and knees. Bring big toes to touch, spread your knees wide apart, and sit your glutes on your heels. If this is difficult, try keeping knees and thighs together. Exhale while walking hands forward with palms facing down and forward, lowering your torso between your thighs. Alternately, your chest can rest on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor. Deepen your stretch by extending your arms out further in front of you, palms facing down. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms back to rest alongside your thighs with your palms facing up. Relax your elbows. Close your eyes and breathe softly for 10 breaths.
Gently lie on your back on your mat. Bring your knees into your chest, give them both a quick hug, then take them over to one side and rest them on the ground in a gentle twist; ensure that your hips are stacked. Breath normally and relax your body completely. Open your right arm to the right, keeping it in line with your shoulders. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Bring your gaze to the right, over your shoulder to your right fingertips. From here, take 5 deep breaths, exhale, and return both knees back to center. Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for 2 breaths repeating on the other side.
Corpse Pose– Savasana
Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.Close your eyes. Rest your hands palms up to sustain energy or palms down to neutralize yourself. Let your feet drop open and relax your jaw muscles. If you have a favorite blanket or pranayama pillow nearby, you may use them at this time to support Savasana serenity. Let your breath occur naturally. Stay in Savasana for at least 3 minutes. To exit this pose, first begin to deepen your breath. Gently bring movement and awareness back to your body by wiggling your fingers and toes. Roll onto either side into a fetal position. Take two breaths then gently press yourself into a comfortable seated position. Let your head be the last thing to come into place.
Bring your hands together at the heart-center. Sit up tall, take one final inhale, and exhale completely.