I am a list person. I love "To Do" lists and checking off all that I have done. Sometimes I have so many lists around that I must date them. Here is one more list worth keeping, 10 Ways to Save Your Day by Kate Hanley, Body + Soul Magazine. Check out a few of her wise and helpful solutions to staying calm in the face of stress, anxiety and everyday disasters at the link below.
1. Problem: In Your Face People - Aggressiveness
Solution: In seated or standing, firmly plant your feet on the ground and lift your neck long and back slightly. Chin stays lifted and hands can be at your side or clasped behind your back. Your strength will shine through and confidence may build. Don't forget to take full breaths.
2. Problem: Technology fails you again, computer glitches
Solution: Take a few minutes in this forward bend. Give yourself room between your chair and your desk. Sit back against the chair with knees wide at edge of seat. Inhale deeply and as you exhale bend at the hips laying your upper body in between the thighs. Let the arms and head dangle. Feel the ribcage expand with the in breath. Take 10 breaths and slowly roll up to seated. Clearer head!
3. Problem: Trouble Sleeping?
Solution: Breathe and stretch. Lie on your back supporting head and knees with a pillow. Rest your hands on your belly and feel the rise and fall of the breath in that area. Once you have a steady rhythm, try extending the exhalation double the inhalation. We call this 1:2 breath (see sidebar).
3. Problem: Anxiety, building fear
Solution: Kate suggests using ancient Chinese medicine for this one and stimulate your "Letting Go" area on your body. This area is three finger widths below the outer edges of the collarbones, in line with the inner edge of your arms. Press fingertips gently but firmly in these areas on both sides for 3 minutes, breathing deeply. Release slowly.
Left Nostril Breathing
Benefits: Left nostril breathing is a very quick and effective way to wind down and get into sleep mode. This is because the left nostril is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain, which can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system counteracts the stress effect, calming you down, slowing heart rate, cooling you down, and increasing digestion. For more information, check out the term "ida" which is the left side of our brain. The opposite is "pingala" the sympathetic nervous system, right side.
Use the thumb or index finger of the right hand to gently close the right nostril. Breathe long and deep for three minutes or until you fall asleep. You can do this sitting or lying down. Lying on your right side will help open the left nostril. I like to allow my tongue to travel to the roof of my mouth in this breath to root my focus on my third eye (middle of the forehead). Also placing my index and middle finger at the third eye assists in activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Therapeutic Spinal Strip with legs supported (no photo yet)
Props: 2 blankets, 1 bolster, neck roll
Benefits: reinvigorates the spine bringing fresh blood and oxygen. With deep breath, can give the effect of a massage on the spine.
Open up blanket to mid-size rectangle shaped blanket, fold it over three times, smoothing down the wrinkles. From a longer rectangle shaped blanket, also fold it over three times, smoothing down wrinkles. Smaller folded blanket goes vertically on your mat with fringe end toward head and longer blanket lays across 1st blanket like a cross (where your bra line would be). Lay at end of bottom blanket, hips off the blanket, low back on it. Bring bolster either on end or flat as you place your legs over it. Recline the rest of the way on the strip with longer blanket where your bra line is. Extend arms, palms facing up out to a "T" on blanket. Use a neck pillow in cervical curve. A variation is to have knees together, feet wide apart. Stay for about 5 -8 minutes. A nice alternative to the Heart Bench.
Props: blankets, including one for warmth, stuffed animals or eye bags for hands
Benefits: gently stretches the lumbar spine and para spinal muscles, and gives a release in the diaphragm, quiets the mind and comforting. Gives a sense of security.
2 bolster fold blanket placed lengthwise on mat on top of each other. One blanket at end of mat for ankle support. Make roll for ankle support. Rest of that blanket fills in gap where shin does not meet the floor. Make sure no blanket is on knee. This supports the knee in the pose. Top bolster folded blanket roll towards you in a wider roll to fit in chest and shoulder area. One more blanket folded so that its height is the same as the two bolster folded blankets. Come to all fours straddling the props, release to forearms and then fully recline on props. Ankles rest on small roll at end of mat, shins supported by the rest of that blanket. Rest the rest of your body at hip crease on the bolster fold blankets and lay chest on wider roll of top blanket. Head rests on additional blanket at top, turned to the side. Arms come out to the sides, releasing shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Placing an eye pillow or stuffed animal in palms as they face floor is very grounding and comfortable. Additional blankets for pillows tucked in as needed with student to create boundaries or make more comfortable.
Labels: Left Nostril Breathing, Surfboard Pose, Therapeutic Spinal Strip with leg support