What does it mean to empower your sacred femininity on a physical, emotional, energetic, mental andspiritual plane? Follow Nicolette’s exploration of Yoga Therapy for Women.
“Move with your breath.” “Take the longest inhale you have taken today.” “Feel the waves of relaxation coursing through your body.” These statements made me realize how much I go about my day not really listening to my body and what it needs or does to keep me alive on a daily basis. In an effort to bring more self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-care into my life, I decided to take the Yoga Therapy for Women workshop at Yoga District this past weekend. I left the workshop with some simple exercises and practices that anyone can incorporate, even if only for a couple minutes, into their lives to bring a little more peace to their minds and bodies amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here are my five practices I learned at the workshop that can get you through a busy week:
1. Monkey Stretches: The workshop instructor, Iysha Nobes, taught us about monkey stretches which help calm your nervous system. For the first stretch, we started in mountain pose and then traced our right hand along our right side body starting near our hips moving toward our armpits until the right arm was in the air and then we repeated that motion on the left side. For the second movement, we had our arms by our sides and starting swinging our arms side to side in a circular motion. As we we continued to do this motion, we sped up and then started to slow down after a couple minutes.
2. Incorporating Routine in your Life: During the workshop, we talked about the importance of routine according to the Ayurvedic tradition since the nervous system likes reliability. It can be something as simple as trying to eat a meal at the same time everyday or waking up and doing even just a few minutes of breathing exercises, meditation, or a couple of your favorite yoga poses. Make it your goal this week to think about how you can incorporate routine in your life or change up your current one for the new season.
3. Abyangha Self Massage: Massaging your body (as well as jumping) helps to flush the lymphatic system. For this massaging practice, we took coconut oil (another oil can be used) and rubbed it on feet, around the bones on either side of our ankles, wrists, arms, and legs. Rubbing the oil on your stomach and lower back in a clockwise position can aid in digestion. On the limbs, we made long strokes and around the joints we massaged in circular motions. Our instructor Iysha reminded us throughout the practice that is is very important for the neurological connection to look at the body part you are massaging as you do it.
4. Psoas Release: During this workshop, we learned that women store a lot of emotion in the psoas (the pelvic region). In order to help release this tension, we did certain restorative poses that target that region. Here is a link to similar types of poses we did in the workshop: https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/release-your-psoas
5. Yoga Nidra: You can find tons of videos for guided yoga nidras on Youtube that range from a couple minutes to an hour. This guided meditation is something that many people do before bed if they have trouble falling asleep or to help with anxiety. Here are links to a few different ones:
By just doing even one of these practices a day, you are acknowledging the importance of putting your self first and slowing down to acknowledge all that you do. Let us know how these practices work for you and if you have any favorite self-care practices of your own. Enjoy the week and remember to take some time for yourself!