A Mindful You

Jan 29, 2018   //   by Charon and NA   //   Mindfulness, Relaxations, Self-Care, The Blog  //  No Comments

Sometimes a horrible day is made a bit better with self-care: a little time by yourself to recharge or maybe change your perspective.

A good way to start off your week is to be intuned with your thoughts, feelings and how you move throughout the world.

Read on for a few strategies we find helpful to turn a horrid day around.

Please note: Stop any of our mindful suggestions if you become light headed or dizzy.  Make sure to practice within your own range of abilities and limits.  Please consult with a doctor before practicing if you have any medical concerns.

PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION

Progressive muscle relaxation can help alleviate tension because as your body begins to relax then so will your mind.

Find a quite and calm spot to lie down on your back and stretch out comfortably.  Start with the muscles in your feet and then slowly move up through the body tensing and relaxing the intended muscles. Remember you should feel tightness in the muscle but not pain.

  1. For a few minutes take slow deep breaths through your nose
  2. Still breathing deeply begin to focus on your right foot and how it feels then squeeze it tightly for 4 – 10 seconds.  Try to only squeeze your right foot muscles.
  3. Relax your right foot and focus on the tension flowing away
  4. In this relaxed state take a few slow deep breaths
  5. Now shift your attention to your left foot and use an identical sequence on it
  6. Systematically move up through the body tensing and releasing muscle groups

Order for Progressive muscle relaxation

1. Right then Left Foot 2. Right then Left Calf
3. Right then Left Thigh 4. Hips & Buttocks
5. Stomach 6. Chest
7. Back 8. Right then Left Arm & Hand
9. Neck & Shoulders 10. Face

For more detailed list of muscle group and how to specifically tense them then refer to WebMD’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation reference

PRACTICE AHIMSA

Ahimsa is the practice of non-harming in all aspects of life: physical, mental, or emotional.

It not only refers to your actions towards other people and things, but your actions toward your own self.

Think about how you go about your day usually and how you can act with more kindness to others, yourself, and your surroundings.

 

You can practice ahimsa by:

  • trying to be open to another person’s opinions (maybe one that you had shut down in the past)
  • allow yourself latitude to make a mistake
  • riding your bike or walking instead of driving your car

Notice any positive changes in yourself once you start actively practicing ahimsa.

Refer to YD’s previous MLK day blog post for more information about practicing Ahisma and other forms of nonviolent communication.

Reading a Good Book

There is nothing like a few minutes spent without the distraction of any screens to help calm the mind and make you feel a bit better.

If you don’t have time to for yoga but want to deepen your practice in other ways, Heather Honstein, a beloved Yoga District teacher, shares some of her picks for yoga-related books:

  • Light on Pranayama by BKS Iyengar
  • Freud and Yoga: Two Philosophies of Mind Compared by Hellfried Krusche, T.K.V. Desikachar & Marie Hodges
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama and Muktibodhananda  Saraswati
  • The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami
  • Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness by Swami Rama, Swami Ajaya, and Rudolpy Ballentine

You can find Heather’s other book recommendations at YD’s previous Self-Care during the Holidays blog post.

If you are interested in more self-care & relaxation tips then check out our Mindful Tips for Dealing with Thanksgiving Stress blog post.

 

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The Teachers

The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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