Oct 2, 2009

Posted by in Meditations, Self-Care | 0 Comments

Pulling Back Your Peace: How to Move From Stressed to Serenity In Five Minutes

noel schroeder pic
In the morning, some people like to greet the day gently, but moms generally hit the floor running. Kids to care for, errands to run, maybe even a job to tend to — there is an endless list of tasks and only a finite amount of time. While there might not be time for the well deserved hour long yoga class, here are some simple and speedy techniques to help ease away body pain and mind anxiety in an overwhelming day.

5-Minute Back Stretch (Supported Bridge): The key to ridding yourself of discomfort is to become aware of the origin. Ask yourself how often you …
bend over to pick things up off of the floor?
lift a child?
carry a child around, particularly on one side?
spend copious amounts of time in your car?
hunch over your computer?

All of this slouching and hunching, lifting, and driving can do a number on your lower back, reducing the natural inward curve. This can cause low back pain but also wreak havoc on your hamstrings, hips, upper back and neck. Here is the perfect antidote:

Supported Bridge Pose

Lie on your back over a folded blanket or pillow in Supported Bridge Pose. Place the prop under your lower back, so it sits across your belt line and creates an inward curve. Your buttocks will be off the floor, and you will feel sensation in the lower part of your low back, or sacrum. It shouldn’t feel intense right away, so unfold the blanket or use a smaller pillow if it feels too deep. You can bend your knees or let your legs fall toward the floor. Relax into the stretch for 3-5 minutes, doing deep belly breathing. With each exhale, let yourself sink into the stretch a little more. The more passive you are, the deeper and more effective the stretch will be, releasing tension in the ligaments as well as the muscles of your lower back. With regular practice, you will help restore the inward curve of your lower back, helping your whole body’s posture and range of motion. In addition, you will experience the stress-reducing effects of taking five minutes to feel grounded and to allow more oxygen flow through your entire body and mind.

Drop Your Grounding Cord*: This practice is perfect for when you feel overwhelmed and out of your body because your head is swimming with the thousand things on your list, while being distracted every three seconds by the needs of your children. The best part is that it takes 10 seconds, tops.

When you do this the first time, try sitting with your eyes closed. Once you have the visual down, you can do it anywhere, anytime, as often as you need it. Imagine an infinite supply of green light sitting at the base of your spine. Imagine that this green light is Earth energy and visualize dropping a wide cord of Earth energy from the base of your spine to the center of the Earth. Make the cord as wide as your hips, like a tree trunk. Feel the support of the Earth underneath you. This visualization takes you out of your head, into your body, and into the moment. It brings you into a knowing that everything is in order, and that you are always home, no matter where you are. It will help calm all that is swimming in your head, help you focus on what’s right in front of you; the priority for the moment. It will also help you realize that everything that needs to be done will get done … that there is always plenty of time.

Put Your Feet Up and Breathe: Become aware of how often you feel Stress can make you tired or even feel physically ill – short of breath, headache, upset stomach. Take note of how the stress in your mind is affecting your body.

A quick way to recharge is Legs Up the Wall Pose.

Legs Up the Wall Pose

During nap time or after the kids are in bed for the night, lie on the floor with your legs up the wall. You can let your buttocks be flush with the wall or slightly away from it, depending on how your hamstrings and back feel. Feel free to place a cushion under your lower back, elevating your legs a little, if that feels good to you. You might feel a stretch in the backs of your legs. This position is designed more for relaxation than for stretch, so just be comfortable. Possible benefits of this pose include improved circulation, clearer mind, restored energy, strengthened immune system, and improved mood. You might get rid of that headache, too. Spend 10-20 minutes here, practicing the following deep-breathing exercise:

Three-Part Breath: Place your hands on your belly, and let your belly rise and fall with your breath, expanding it as you inhale and letting it fall inward as you exhale. Do this a few times, and then move your hands to your lower ribs. While continuing to breathe with your belly, let your rib cage also expand on your inhales and collapse inward on your exhales. After a few of these, move your hands to your upper chest. While continuing to breathe into your belly and rib cage, breathe into your chest without shrugging your shoulders. Feel your breath moving into all three sections of your lungs, and also allow the expansion and contraction in your back against the floor. You are now breathing the complete breath, using the full capacity of your lungs. With regular practice, deep breathing will get easier and feel like a more natural way for you to breathe regularly. Deep breaths increase oxygen flow to the brain, help you de-stress, and come back into the moment.

When you are ready to come out of Legs Up the Wall pose, go slowly, bringing your knees to your chest for a few breaths, and then rolling to one side for a few breaths. Gradually move back to sitting, dropping your grounding cord to help you transition back. Hopefully, you feel reenergized, restored, and relaxed. If you can’t find time to do this without your children around, that is okay, too. They will probably want to do it with you, perhaps providing all of you with a few minutes of peace and quiet.

If you feel stressed, your children are picking up on that. If you don’t feel present, then it is difficult to be present for your children. On an airplane, the instructions are to give yourself oxygen before your child. Otherwise, you won’t be any help at all. So even with your best intentions to be a great mom, you may be doing the opposite of what you intend.

By using these easy tools regularly, you will have an increased awareness of how much your day is taking a toll on you. Maybe you will come to a new understanding of your priorities, including how important your own self-care is. Perhaps this, in turn, will help you realize you can take things off your schedule and to-do list. In the mean time, you now have tools to help you move through your busiest day more peacefully. So breathe, stretch, ground, and put your feet up as soon as you get the chance. You deserve it.

*Courtesy of the Energy Healing Institute, www.energyhealinginstitute.org

Noël Schroeder, M.Ed, RYT is an energy healer and yoga teacher. The foundation of her practice is making yoga and healing accessible, helping people integrate mind-body tools into daily living. In addition to almost 10 years of teaching yoga, Noël has been studying at the Energy Healing Institute for over three years, where she is finishing her Level 2 Healer Certification. Noël specializes in yin yoga, running weekly classes and a private healing practice in Boston and Newburyport, Massachusetts. www.yinward.com

Leave a Reply