Wherever you are, yoga is accessible. Whatever condition you’re in, it’s possible. Whatever type you need, it’s variable.
For many years, I found my joy in running. Eventually, physical injuries put a cease and desist on those days, and I turned to a new adventure. Yoga. The activity has become increasingly popular among many generations. So what’s the draw to movement on a mat? I couldn’t answer for quite a long time, largely due to my need for loud music and rapid movements. Following an operation on my back, I began to understand the draw – emotionally and physically – to this practice.
Hear from one of my favorite teachers, Joanna Yates, some of her go-to poses to restore energy and bring balance to your day. First, meet the instructor!
Joanna (Jojo) Yates is an RYT200 Certified Yoga Instructor sharing the practice in Charleston, SC, working towards her 500-hour certification with YogaWorks in NYC. A former interior designer with experience in both retail management and visual merchandising, she loves encouraging others to discover their truth and creativity that already exists through the full practice of Yoga. You’ll find her sharing the practice in both the studio setting and in corporate offices and local businesses all around the lowcountry. When not teaching she loves zipping around town in her 5-speed and watching the sunrise with her husband and pit bull rescue, Aussie.
Now, it’s tim to grab your mat!
Get connected to your breath before you start to move.Here is a great way to get that started. It’s called Nadi Shodhana, or Channel clearing breath.Sit upright in a comfortable seat. You can sit in a chair or on the edge of your bed. Hold your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale strongly through your left nostril.Close off your left nostril with your third and fourth fingers. Gently pause at the top for 1-2 seconds then exhale slowly through your right nostril.After you breath out fully, inhale through right, pause, then exhale through left side. This counts as one cycle.Continue for anywhere from 5-8 cycles.
Perspective change.One wait to get connected to the body, is to access the back side. This also encourages a perspective switch. Starting with a modification in Puppy pose, then leading into a full forward fold.Find a clear wall space in your home. Come to face the wall and walk directly up to it.Place hands against the wall around where your hip bones are. As you press your hands into the wall, walk back and fold at your waist. Here you should feel the backs of your legs opening along with the space around your shoulders.Stay for a few longer inhalations and exhalations, then walk forward back toward the wall to come back up.If this feels comfortable, you can continue the fold and place your hands on books or soup cans on the floor. Keeping the spine elongated and exhale as you fold.
Create space around your Heart.Expanding your chest and spreading the collar bones, allows more space and oxygen (aka: prana, lifeforce) to fill the space around your heart.Even the smallest of shifting in that area can bring some heavy, kind-hearted change.Grab a blanket or quilt, and a small pillow. Then find a comfy space to lie flat on the ground. (Preferably on a yoga mat or soft rug.)Roll up with blanket like a tootsie roll and lie it across your yoga mat, left to right.Lie on your back and place the rolled up blanket directly under the bottom of your shoulder blades. Rest your head on the pillow for support.Breath. Soften. Breath. Breath. Stay here for 2-5 minutes.
Do the Twist. On a chair.Twists can relieve back pain, improve range of motion and restores circulation in the spine. These are only a few benefits to twisting.Grab on of your kitchen chairs or a folding chair from the garage.Sit with your body face the right side.With your hands on the back of the chair, find length through your spine with an inhale, keep your chin in line with your chest as you gently twist to your left on an exhale. Twisting from your navel center rather than your shoulders or neck. Hold for 3 cycles of breath and inhale to come back to center.Switch the direction you are facing and repeat to the other side.
Need some go to items for your next savasana? Try these!