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Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses for Immediate Stress Relief

When we are at ease in body and mind, we feel open, expansive, and grounded. We are able to show up for ourselves, others, and our work fully, and we are our best selves.

However, when we experience stress, we tend to feel scattered, uncomfortable, and unsettled. The physical manifestation of stress might express as inconsistent and short breaths, tightness in the body, and tension in the face.

Stress is a mindset that we adopt (either consciously or unconsciously) in response to a given situation. More often than not, stress is an unsupportive addition to our daily lives.

Restorative Yoga is an antidote to the harm caused by stress, offering an opportunity to step back and reset the mind and body. A restorative practice offers a reprieve from stress that allows us to reframe our approach toward external stressors.

 
It can feel counterintuitive to take a time-out from our day when we feel pressed for time or burdened by an approaching event or deadline. Perhaps the very reason we feel stressed is because we feel short on time.

However, there can be value in taking a few minutes to change the channel in our minds and slow the pace of our inner dialogue. By taking the time to reassess, we might recognize the stress we carry to be unnecessary, and we can address the role of stress as an obstacle to our end goals.
 

Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses as Your Go-To Yoga for Stress Relief:

The Restorative Yoga poses below offer a holistic approach to stress relief. Restorative Yoga can imbue our lives with a fresh perspective, introspection, and a broader understanding of our response – a stark contrast to the narrow-minded thought pattern imprinted by stress.

Taking a moment to pause and break the cycle of tension can do wonders for your day, offering ease in the body, mind, and breath. The next time you need to recenter, give one or all of the poses below a try.
 
Props You Will Need: 4 blocks, 2 blankets, 1 bolster, optional eye pillow.
 
If you do not have the yoga props listed, please feel free to supplement with items found around your home. Firm pillows and/or a couch cushion can be a great substitute for the yoga props used in the poses listed below.

1. Restorative Twist

This Restorative Twist is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and gather grounding energy. Support under your belly offers a soothing effect, which alleviates feelings of worry and strain.

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Let’s try it:

  • Place two blocks on your mat, the first block on its lowest height and the second block on the second height

  • Lay your bolster over the two blocks so you create a slope with the bottom edge of the bolster touching the floor

  • Snuggle your right hip at the base of the bolster with your knees bent to the left and your hands framing your props

  • Keep your navel as close to center as possible and lie down so the front of your body is supported by the bolster

  • Tuck your arms underneath the bolster and between the blocks

  • Your head can turn toward or away from your knees. Choose whichever option feels best for you neck

  • Enjoy each side for up to five minutes

Check out the other poses and the full article on YogiApproved

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Stop the Negative Self Talk! Thank Your Body With This Gratitude Meditation

full article published on YogiApproved

A body scan meditation mixed with a gratitude meditation is an excellent way to promote a harmonious mind-body connection. In this simple meditation, you have the unique opportunity to thank your body for all it does for you on a daily basis to radically improve your body image in a new way.

Your body is an incredible system, one which offers you the ability to live and enjoy your life. However, it can be all too easy to forget this and take your body for granted.

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By switching up the dialogue and offering your body this gratitude meditation, a different perspective emerges. This newfound perspective focuses on the amazing capacity of the human body rather than on shape or size.

Here’s How to Practice Your Body Scan Meditation:

Find a quiet place. Either sit in a comfortable cross-legged posture or lie down on your back. Begin by taking a few deep breaths.

As you go through the body scan meditation, start at the top of your head and move down through your body. First, create awareness in the body part you are focusing on. Tune into how it feels and all sensations that arise there.

Then, offer it thanks as you bring in the gratitude meditation . . .
 
 Continue reading this article on YogiApproved

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

Hi yogis!

Join me for this 30 minute Vinyasa Yoga Flow. This practice is catered towards yogis with a regular practice. However, those working on building strength can enjoy this video by taking breaks when needed. Enjoy and please reach out if you have any questions!

xoJenny

Have you Subscribed to the Urban Om Yoga YouTube channel yet? Stay up to date with free yoga and meditation videos when you subscribe. Check it out 

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Yoga Corner

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The best part of yoga practice is when you are truly tuned into your time on the mat. Having the best yoga mat and props makes it all that much easier to drop into that place where typical distractions disappear.

For this reason I have created a list of my favorite yoga props on Amazon.com. I have been using these products for years and I highly recommend all the products on my list.

You will also find a reading list for your yoga library with some of my favorite books, should you be interested in deepening your yoga practice off the mat.

Check out the link below and please let me know if you have any questions!

xoJenny

 

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Feeling the heat? Keep it Cool with this Pranayama

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Sheetali Pranayama, also known as cooling breath, is a wonderful breathing exercise to practice in order to keep cool during the hot summer months. This pranayama is said to not only remove excess heat from the body, but it also keeps the mind and emotions cool, calm and in check during fiery Pitta season. 

This pranayama is traditionally done with a rolled tongue. If you are not able to roll your tongue, instead gently place the tip of your tongue to the top two teeth.

The how to:

1. Find a comfortable seat. A great option is to sit cross legged on a pillow, blanket or bolster. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

2. Start with a body scan, checking in from the top of the head and moving down the body. Notice how you are feeling physically, mentally & emotionally. Take note of any areas which show signs of excess heat.

3. Once you feel ready to begin the breathing technique, roll your tongue. Breath in through the mouth with your tongue rolled. When you are ready to exhale, close the mouth and breath out through the nose. Continue this for about 8-10 rounds, doing your best to keep the in and out breaths equal in length.

4. Allow the breath to resume a natural rhythm, breathing in and out through the nose. Take a few minutes to sit in meditation and take note of any cooling sensations.

*As with all pranayamas, if at any point you feel lightheaded, come back to a normal breath rhythm and continue again as you feel ready.

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Smoothie Pops: because who doesn't love 2 for 1?!

Berry Good Smoothie & Smoothie Pops

Berry Good Smoothie & Smoothie Pops

It has been hot, hot, hot in NYC making it officially smoothie season. I'm a big fan of my morning smoothie and I am always trying new combinations. Smoothies are a great, quick breakfast, packed with nutrients and protein. Sometimes I make more than I can drink and have found the perfect way to make good use of the extras- Smoothie Pops!

Super easy, healthy and refreshing these popsicles are a wonderful all natural, cooling treat. 

Below are two of my go-to recipes. Give one or both a try but feel free to try your own combinations and get creative!

If you have a smoothie recipe you love, please share in the comments below :)

 

Berry Good Smoothie:

1 1/2 cup frozen berries

2 frozen bananas

2 scoops vegan vanilla protein powder

2 cups almond milk

 

Oh My Greenness

Oh My Greenness Smoothie Pops

Oh My Greenness Smoothie Pops

1 cup frozen mango

1 frozen banana

2 cups almond milk

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 tsp. spirulina (this gives the smoothie it's beautiful green color. I promise you can't taste it!)

Combine ingredients of the smoothie of your choice. Blend until smooth. Fill a glass with your smoothie. 

Pour the remainder into popsicle molds and freeze. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

Bon appetit and stay cool, yogis! 

xoJenny
 

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Cold Zoodles with Peanut Sauce

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Super healthy and satisfying, this is the perfect summer dish. It is a great way to take advantage of the abundance of fresh, local vegetables at the farmer’s market. It is especially great for hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven and are craving a cool, delicious dinner.

I used the OXOX Good Grips Spiralizer. However, if you do not own a spiralizer you can often find spiralized veggies at grocery stores, such as Trader Joe’s.

Give the recipe a try and let me know how it goes! 

xoJenny

 

Ingredients: 

2 Tbs dark sesame oil

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (can also use tahini)

1 Tbs agave

3 Tbs soy sauce

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 Tbs rice or white wine vinegar

Hot sesame oil or hot sauce to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

3 medium zucchini, spiralized

1 medium English cucumber, spiralized

1 medium carrot, peeled & spiralized

1/2 cup chopped scallion

1/4 tsp sesame seeds

Optional Protein: Add edamame and or grilled chicken for extra protein

 

1. Whisk together the sesame oil, peanut butter, agave, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, hot oil and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with hot water until it is the consistency of heavy cream (about 1/4-1/2 cup)

2. Combine the spiralized zucchini & cucumber with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with carrot, scallions and sesame seeds and serve :)

Makes 2-3 Servings

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

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Over Night Oats- Never Skip Breakfast again!

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

today's oat creation: pear, oats, almond milk & organic PB

This month at Urban Om we are focusing on making our mornings as beautiful as possible. One way to embrace your inner early bird is to do a bit of planning the evening before so your morning can be as seamless as possible.

One of my favorite preparations for an early morning is over nights oats. These yummy oats take just minutes to prepare and are perfect for a healthy grab and go breakfast. 

My recipe changes depending on what I have in my fridge and what I am craving but check out the basic formula below.

The basic overnight oats recipe:

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup fruit

1 tbs nut butter (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar the evening before enjoying. Throw a lid on the jar & give it a little shake. Store in the fridge and voila! - you have a yummy, healthy breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

Feel free to get creative! Add cinnamon, agave and/or chia seeds. I love nut butter so I always add a scoop to my oat creations :) Give this recipe a try and comment below with your favorite overnight oat combinations.

Wishing you happy mornings, Yogis!

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

Who doesn't wish they could squeeze in a few more zzz's? Sleep is incredibly important for our wellbeing, proper immune function and lowering our stress levels. Although we might be aware of the health benefits of a good night’s sleep, sometimes it can be challenging to transition from the busyness of everyday life into a restful slumber. If you could use a bit of help winding down for bedtime, check out the restorative yoga sequence below. Taking 20 minutes before bed to slow down and unwind could be your ticket to snoozeville. 

For this practice you will need:

2 blocks or firm pillows, some wall space, a blanket (optional), and an eye pillow (also optional)

Short and sweet meditation

Begin in a crossed leg seated position, back facing the wall. You might want to sit on your block or blanket for additional support. You can also use the wall for back support if this is helpful. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Before you change your breath in any way, notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Take note of where the breath wants to live in the body and the quality of the breath. Be aware, there is no right answer to these questions. This is not about judgement but rather building awareness. Take this time to check in how you are feeling at the beginning of your practice.

After a minute or two gradually begin to deepen your breathing and begin:

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama)

Divide the inhale into 3 equal parts, breathing into the belly, the ribs, and the chest. If it is helpful, you can use your hands to guide your inhale as you move the breath up the torso. Allow the breath to be continuous as you initiate your inhale from the low belly, lift the breath into the rib cage/diaphragm, and then the chest. Once you reach the top of your inhale, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. Repeat 5-10 rounds. You may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.

*as with all pranayama (breathing exercises), stop if you become dizzy or lightheaded

 
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Legs up the Wall:

Snuggle one hip next to the wall, knees facing up toward the ceiling

Lay on your back as you simultaneously swing both legs up the wall. You can place your hands behind you to help this action.

Cover your eyes with an eye pillow. 

Take long deep breaths into the belly. Enjoy this pose for 5-10 minutes

*If the legs fall asleep, you can either come out of the pose or hug the knees into the chest for a few breaths and re-stretch the legs when you are ready.

*If the hamstrings are tight, the knees can stay a little bent in this pose. 

 
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Supine Twist

Bend the knees into the chest 

Rock the knees over to the left with your feet  gently pressing into the wall

Stretch your arms out on the floor, in line with your shoulders, chin turned towards your right shoulder

Optionally place your left hand on top of your right thigh to gently encourage the leg toward the floor, thus deepening your twist. 

Breath deeply, finding a smoothed out version of that same 3-part-breath with which we started practice. Hold 10 breaths, then switch sides

 

Supta Baddha Konasana

Lie on down on your back with an optional low folded blanket under your head. 

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Bring the soles of your feet to touch, open your knees to the sides, laying the thighs on either your blocks or firm pillows. 

Gently place an eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over the belly. A blanket placed on the abdomen adds a sense of grounding, which is very helpful as you ease your way towards dreamland.

Enjoy this pose for 10 minutes. 

When you are ready to finish your practice, draw your knees together and rock side to side a few times. Roll to one side to press yourself up to sit.

Take a few breaths in a seated position, take note of how you feel. Then head to bed for some seriously sweet dreams!

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