I had my son in 2008. I was lucky and conceived him with no problem at 34 years old. I’ll never forget: my acupuncturist asked me to chat with him outside the waiting room when we had finished wrapping up my session. As he walked me out to the parking lot, he had a twinkle in his eye and said, “I love telling my patients this: Go home. Today’s the day!”
Is your breath soft, slow and even? Have you become stretchy and strong? Does sitting for meditation transport you to planet zen? How many OM symbols are you wearing on any given day? Trick question! Forget poses, alignment, clear mind and ocean-like waves of breath. Just for a moment forget it and consider this, “If your yoga practice doesn’t make you more kind, you are doing it wrong”.
Anyone who has ever seen me for a massage knows I give homework. Stretches, breathing practices or plain and simple rest are assignments designed to keep you loose and limber. Learning ways to manage aches and pains is invaluable and empowering. DIY foot massage is one of my favorite tasks to assign. All you need is a tennis ball and a little time.
Driving, typing, reading, texting and plenty other daily activities can tense the upper body. When the arms are constantly pulled forward the shoulders roll in, the muscles of the chest tighten and the body starts to get pretty unhappy. Stiff neck, crunchy shoulders, achy arms, wrists and hands are all products of this forward hunch. Fortunately you don’t need to give up texting or driving to avoid this chain of tension, instead take a little time to unwind it. Try this short seated yoga practice to contrast the many activities that keep your upper half bound up with tension.
Perhaps the most difficult part of mindfulness and meditation is making time for it. Taking a quick pause to refresh has innumerable benefits on mind and body. Yet with an impending to-do list how on earth can you make room to sit, rest and relax? With 10 breaths. Here is where you, your busy life and meditation can meet in the middle for a little 10 breath pow-wow.