TO GET YOU BACK ON TRACK AFTER THE LONG WEEKEND
even if you aren’t going back to school (we wish!), and even if summer isn’t actually over (thank god!), the days after Labor Day are a wake-up call. a get-back-to-work siren. a collective rolling up of the sleeves. (we could go on, but we won’t.) if the idea of lazy summer days behind you and crisp productive days ahead of you sounds a bit overwhelming (but also oddly refreshing and exciting!), we know how you feel. and we know what to do, which is to ask Hannah to please share some of her hard-earned Yogi wisdom. here, a ten-ish-minute gentle flow to do at home before (or after) a big day back in reality — and some pretty sage life advice, too.
1. start seated, on a block or folded blanket.
2. arch and round your spine five times.
3. take three side bends on each side. place left hand out to to the left of your spot, reaching your right arm over towards the left. switch.
4. roll forward, plant your hands and step back into a plank pose. lift your hips to down dog without moving your feet.
5. lift your right leg up and sweep it forward to a low lunge. drop your left knee down (on a pad, if you need it). hold for three breaths.
6. straighten out your right leg, and come into a hamstring stretch, using the blocks for support under your hands if needed. hold for three breaths.
7. come back to down dog, walk out your legs. repeat on the second side. come back to down dog, walk out your legs.
8. come forward on to your forearms into forearm plank. this is an amazing pose because it engages the deepest abdominals that support your spine. to engage your body more, lift through your inner thighs and low belly with each exhale. hold for five breaths.
9. push back into child's pose and hold for two breaths.
10. sit up and cross your legs. take your left hand behind your left hip and take your right hand to your left knee. take an inhale in and twist a little deeper lifting through the chest and crown of your head. hold for five breaths. repeat on the second side.
11. end by sitting on that blanket again or laying on your back. close your eyes and do a brief meditation. even if you only have two minutes at the end to just focus on your breath, it’s enough.
best time to practice? "do it in the morning! the day will just keep getting fuller, and the reasons to skip it will just increase. it will also help you show up so much better in your day."
best place to practice? "a space in your home that feels beautiful / sacred / interruption-free."
how do we get the most out of the whole shebang? "breathe. forget everything else. if you're not breathing, you’re only getting half of the benefit. the main purpose is to calm your mind and focus on you. there are a million things trying to grab your attention, and honing your ability to focus is what sets you up for success.
i define success as being clear about what you want — which takes time, silence and listening. how juicy is that, to spend time just being with what you want? raise your hand if you do that regularly…! it's cool, i know you did not raise it, it’s hard!! but so important! once you do take that time, then it's about being focused on exactly what you need to get there. which brings us to my favorite part of this: the power of NO. you can use it a lot more effectively if you already know what is important to you. then the rest doesn't matter, because it is just taking you away from what you want. and what kind of a life is that? i know this seems a bit off-topic, but that, in my mind, is the purpose of yoga and these small mindfulness practices: to get you to slow down, get in touch with what you want, and learn how to focus your energy on what really matters to you."
thanks, Hannah. we needed this. all of this.