January's Yoga Tip by Rachel Toll
After the holidays, people often make resolutions to detox, trim down, slow down and bring balance into their lives. That’s a tall order! One of the reasons resolutions don’t stick is that we make big lifestyle changes that we can’t commit to. The trick to having a resolution that you actually keep and benefit from is to keep it simple.
Consider bringing this 5-minute yoga sequence into your morning routine:
Stand tall with your arms at your sides. Take a breath in, and as you exhale allow your shoulders and the facial muscles to soften.
With your next breath, raise your arms out to the sides and up. Hold this position for a moment, feeling the length of the spine and the reach of the arms.
On your next exhale, circle your arms out to the sides and down, folding from the hips and reaching towards your feet. Pause here to feel any restriction in hamstrings or back muscles. If you can’t touch your toes (most people can’t by the way :), bend your knees and relax into the shape.
With your next inhale, lift your torso half way up. Again, knees can be a little bent if necessary, but try to make the back flat and the neck long.
On your exhale, fold again.
Inhale, roll up, circling the arms out to the sides and up.
Exhale, bring your hands together in prayer position at your heart center. Pause and notice the sensations you feel in your body.
Repeat three more times, building up to 10 or more as your stamina increases.
Sun Salutations are a staple in any yoga practice. As you can see, each movement is linked with either an inhale or an exhale. You can move slowing with your eyes closed so it feels like a moving meditation, or pick up the pace and get the blood flowing.
You don’t have to be flexible, or young or even in great shape. You don’t need to be spiritual, chant or say “Om”. What you need, is to move your body in a way that feels good. Add a little stretching, a little core strengthening, a bit of balance work, and there you have it, a sweet little yoga class. What could be nicer ♥
Rachel Toll, RYT 500 has been teaching yoga for 10 years. She offers small group classes in her home studio in Simi Valley. Contact Rachel for a list of current classes: firstname.lastname@example.org