Morning routine – yoga and relaxationJuly 24, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Posted in aging, book referral, breathing, daily practices, meditation, relaxation, taking care, yoga | 3 Comments
I have recently read the book ” A Spiritual Response to Stress”. As we all know stress is an everyday feature of life. In addition to being aware how we create our stress we can prepare ourselves to start the day from a solid and grounded place so we can respond to ‘stressors’ with less energy.
This book talks about practicing a regular morning routine. This helps me to connect with myself and know my inner place of relaxation before the day gets going. The routine can be a combination of some yoga and/or stretching follwed by a brief quiet time. The author suggests that he really wishes he had discovered this routine much earlier in life. In the few days since i have started I get a felt sense of starting the day from a very different place. he suggests that the routine effects cumulate over time as the body and mind know that this is the way the day is going to start.
My routine starts before i get out of bed -
1. I pull up one knee at a time and hold it close to my chest ( or as close as it goes;). I take 3 breaths while holding each knee. The breath is not one of effort it is one of awareness – so focus on the breath just gently coming and out. With each exhale the knee can drop a little closer to the chest. I then hold both knees and slowly rock side to side still focusing on my gentle breath for five breaths.
2. Then slowly, rolling all the way to one side I rest and then gently bring my feet and legs over the side of the bed and raise my self to an upright position with the top arm helping to push me up slowly. With feet on the floor I place one hand on the opposite knee and slowly look around to that side of me ( a gentle twist). I hold this gentle twist for 3 breaths on each side.
3. Then i push myself up to standing. With arms overhead I reach for the ceiling on an inbreath and stretch fully upwards. Then raise one hand over head and reach towards the ceiling to stretch out each side. Hold this position for 3 breaths on each side allowng each exhale to open that stretched side a little further.
4. Slowly with feet hipwidth apart, a flat back and abdominals engaged i bend forward holding onto either elbow. Let the head drop naturally – stay in this positon for 5 breaths ( forward bends are very relaxing). With each exhale allow your front body to come closer to your thighs. Slowly come back up with abdominals engaged to protect your lower back.
5. Standing upright raise your shoulders to your ears on the in breath and let them down with a heavy sigh on the exhale. Repeat 5 times. Slowly roll your shoulders forwards then backwards 3 times – feel the shoulder muscles relax and the shoulder blades rest comfortably down the the back.
6. With hands on the waist slowly rotate the hips in a circle – one way then the other 5 times. With toes on the floor and heel lifted rotate the ankle of each foot slowly 5 times, one way then the other. Focus on your breath that probably will get deeper the further into the routine you progress.
7. Stand still with arms draped by your sides and palms out and focus on your breath and scan your body for tensions. Breath into that area and consciously suggest relaxation to the tension. This can be for 10 to 15 breaths.
8. Thank your body for its ability to allow you out of bed and the movement it has provided.
9. Now it is time for a short meditation – sit comfortably, relax your facial muscles, unfocus the eyes and allow them drop nto the back of you head (imagination is a great tool for relaxation).Focus only on your breath for a few minutes – hopefully 5 and maybe 10 or fifteen. If thoughts enter allow them to leave.
10. When you are naturally complete with the process wiggle your fingers and toes stretch your arms overhead. Greet the day with appreciation for another opportunity to be here.
This routine can take 20 to30 minutes to complete and any gentle moves can be incorporated depending on how your body is feeling – listen intently to your body and appreciate the opportunity to move into the day feeling grounded and relaxed.
Any day is good to practice, everyday and your body will love the routine and attention.