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self care sunday

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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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Yoga for a Strong Core

Happy Self Care Sunday, Yogis!

I am excited to announce that I have started a YouTube Channel, Urban Om Yoga! I started this yoga channel to offer some peace and calm in an easily accessible (and free!) platform. Through various practices we will sweat, rest, restore and meditate. There will be a wide range of practices on the channel so you can find a practice that works best for your specific needs each day. I am so excited to share this project with you. Subscribe to the channel here

Check out the most recent video below. A strong core supports from the inside out, promoting good posture and a healthy back. My yoga practice has been influenced by my recent pilates training and I have found some incredibly helpful exercises to weave into my everyday yoga flow. Check out the video and subscribe to Urban Om Yoga to stay in the loop for future videos- More coming soon!!

Have a wonderful Sunday! 

xoJenny

Self Care Sunday: Gratitude Practice

Self Care Sunday: Gratitude Practice

Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest ways to change your perspective for the better. Whether you are going through a difficult time or just want to brighten your mood, this practice has the ability to offer a more positive point of view. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, there is always something to be grateful for and if we can cultivate this mindset, we will be happier for it. 

Here are several ways to give this powerful practice a try. Use one or more of these techniques today and enjoy a positive mindset as part of your Self Care Sunday :)

Gratitude Meditation

Have a few minutes and want to improve your mood? Find a quiet place to sit or lie down with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and begin to think of something you are happy to have in your life. You can either choose to let all the people, things, and activities you are grateful for flow steadily through your mind or you can meditate on one thing for which you are grateful for the entirety of the meditation.

Create a Gratitude Journal

For the next 30 days write down at least 3 things you are grateful for every day. It can be helpful to create a ritual, practicing gratitude first thing in the morning or before you go to bed each evening. These points of gratitude can be big or small, from the first sips of your morning latte to those in your life who make your heart hum. Writing down these highlights every day strengthens your gratitude muscle and you will find looking on the bright side becomes more of a habit over the course of the month. 

Gratitude Walk

Take a walk and bring your attention to everything that brings you joy while you stroll. Turn your phone on silent or leave it at home so you can be truly present while you take your gratitude walk. You could notice the sunny day, the cute dog walking by, the beautiful flowers, whatever suits your fancy. Bringing attention to all of the beauty of life can brighten your mood and make more space for the wonders of life. 

Whichever technique works best for you, give gratitude practice a try for your Self Care Sunday. The benefits are so vast, it might be a practice you will want to turn to every day of the week.

Self Care Sunday

Self Care Sunday

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, there is a good chance you have heard the yoga cue to “breathe into your heart.” The verbal assist is meant to energize the inner body of the chest, as well as open the physiological body by making more space in the sternum, widening the collar bones, creating a sense of lightness, promoting good posture, and a developing a feeling of freedom in the upper body. 

While this verbal cue might sound abstract, it is actually an anatomically sound instruction. When we breathe in, the diaphragm (the dome-shaped muscle primarily responsible for the act of respiration) contracts downward, creating more space for air entering the body. When we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes upwards, assisting our bodies in the release of air. This not only allows for our full, deep yoga breathing, but the pumping action of the diaphragm also massages the heart. Therefore, we can literally breathe into our hearts!

We could all use some self-care techniques in our back pocket. Practice this exercise anytime you need to connect with your breath and de-stress. This pranayama can be practiced in any pose with a long spine and a free abdomen, such as an upright seated position, savasana, or supta baddha konasana. 

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama), The Step by Step:

Find your seated or supine pose and bring your attention to your breath. 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 and your chest, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. If helpful, you can use your hands to guide your breath as you move up and down the torso, as shown in this video.

Inhale: one long breath into the low belly, rib cage, chest
Exhale: one long breath out through the chest, rib cage, low belly
Repeat 5-10 rounds. you may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.

Benefits:

    •    teaches one to breath fully and deeply
    •    can calm and ground the mind
    •    can help to decrease stress and anxiety
    •    can help one to focus on the present moment

*Proceed with caution with this and all breathing exercises, especially if you have a respiratory condition. as with all pranayama, stop if you feel light headed.