I am feeling mentally and physically tired. My whole body feels lazy and stiff. It’s the first time in hours that I’ve got up from my desk, and only because I need to finalise a document by the end of the evening. My mind is busy. I am deciding between making myself something nice to eat or getting my body active in the knowledge that I will feel really good afterwards. Yet I don’t want to take too much time, work awaits.
I decide to take a ten minute Yoga break. I roll out my mat and start in Child's Pose.
I am breathing normally and sensing into my body. I do feel some stiffness in my shoulders and some dragging in my lower back. It’s not a severe pain.
It's the kind of numbness you get when you’ve been sitting in one position and haven’t really moved for quite some time.
After a couple of breaths my muscles completely relax into the position and let go of any tension. I get on all fours and start the so-called ‘cat-cow movement’.
With every breath in I round my spine (cat), and with every breath out I open my chest and move into a slight hollow back (cow). Again, I feel a stiffness in my shoulder and chest area, and in my lower back. I enjoy how the movement smoothens my muscles and loosens the tension. I enjoy the flow. My mind is totally connected with my breath and the motion. My eyes are closed and I am concentrating on the movements, I am following it along with my mind… breath in, cat… breath out, cow… breath in, cat… breath out, cow.
It’s like my breath, my body and my mind are dancing together. I am totally absorbed in this.
Still on all fours, I am starting to move my body in all directions. I am listening into my body, to the parts that are demanding extra attention. I am stretching my sides, rolling my shoulders, moving my spine in circular movements; clockwise, anti clockwise, trying to make space for the discs to breath and to awaken up all the muscles along the hip, torso, shoulder and neck. I am much more awake and my body already feels much more elastic already.
Time for my Down(ward facing) Dog.
The Down Dog is a magical position for me. It unites all aspects that help me to become mentally calm and centred, to feel physically fit and healthy, and emotionally balanced. At the same time, the position quickly reveals all the areas which are out of balance and where I need to pay some attention.
I sense into my shoulders and realise how I’m resting there. I press the ball of my thumbs into the floor, pull my shoulders away from my ears and rotate the shoulder blades towards the outside which stretches my shoulder joints and muscles really well. I remain in this position for a while and enjoy the way my shoulders get warm and give in to the stretch.
It’s a really great feeling of recuperation after having been sat in front of my laptop for the majority of the day. I give another push into the balls of my thumbs and, at the same time, push my tailbone in extension to the spine. My whole back is in a deep stretch now. I let my focus wander up and down my spine, sensing every centimetre. I love this sensation, it gives me a feeling of pleasure and happiness.
This is how a cat must feel right before its joyful, extensive, luxurious elongation.
I bring my focus onto my lower body. I first concentrate on my calves for I am a runner and my calves are always pretty stiff. I start walking. With every exhale I press one heel toward the floor, with the next exhale the other heel. My mind is fully with my calves, I enjoy how the stretching relaxes the muscles. After a while I stop walking, bring my feet parallel, legs as much stretched as possible and heels moving toward the floor.
I am in the what I call the ‘sweet pain’ zone now. The intensity of the stretch I am doing leads to a little fizz in my mind, but it’s not so intense that I dissociate myself from the experience. I feel a slight anger crawling up my chest, trying to wheedle my mind into giving up and letting go of the position. I don’t give up. With every exhale I am consciously breathing ease in my mind and my calves and after a while my whole system gives in and relaxes. Anger is replaced by the sensation of pleasure.
My mind, body and emotions are fully connected and I am totally present.
My breath is the connector of all three; body, mind and emotions, and it tells me at any time how I am doing. I am notified by my breath as soon as my holding patterns are stressed.
I am into a couple of variants on the Child's Pose and Down Dog. Every time I do the Down Dog I melt more into the position, mentally, physically and emotionally. My body gets smoother, my mind calmer, my emotions happier and my breath is as easy and stable as a steadily flowing creek.
I am getting up from my Yoga mat. I am present and awake and feel content. It took me 10 minutes. Now I am prepared for another round at my laptop.
What is your “Down Dog practice” to get yourself mentally and physically awake again? Share with me on Facebook or LinkedIn, or send me an email at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.
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