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Yoga for balance

Have you seen that meme? The one that shows a manic person with text that says: “Me, trying to work hard, exercise, drink water, see people and find time to ring my parents.” It sums up life more that anything we’ve seen in a long time. Everyone seems busier than ever before, with no time to just be. We know being busy isn’t great for our health, and yet we don’t seem to be able to slow down.

If you’re trying to find balance in your life, check out this yoga flow designed by Sinead McKiernan of Love Yoga specifically to help us slow down.

If I have learned anything, it’s to stop over-scheduling and over-committing. We are only one human and we can only do so much. It’s funny that as a yoga teacher I can often feel burned out. We all need to find a better balance in our lives. It’s too easy to become busy, filling every space with appointments and events. We bombard ourselves and can become addicted to being busy.

Our bodies, minds and souls need space and time to rest and digest. Space to reflect, space for imagination and to feel connected and grounded again. When we feel balanced, our thoughts and actions are balanced, we are better versions of ourselves. This will enhance our mood, our relationships and our work.

I have created a short mini yoga practice for you to do in the morning to find some new energy and balance.

Get grounded and energised

Find a quiet space and roll out your mat. Sit comfortably and rub the palms of your hands together to create heat and energy. Take some slow deep breaths. Focus on filling up the lungs with a big deep inhale and slowly let it release. No need to rush, breathe as slow as you can.

Shake out your hands and roll out your wrists to ease out any tension in the hands. Computer and phone use builds up tension in the muscles and tendons in the fingers, hands, and wrists, so extra blood flow to these areas is always appreciated.

Roll out your neck and shoulders in full rolls or semi-circle rolls. The majority of us will have hunched shoulder and strained neck from over-use of laptop, tablet or phone. These muscles get overworked and cause tightness. We need to keep stretching them out to counteract the tightness we create.

Stretch out your arms, as if you have wings, to create a feeling of openness in the chest and mind. But also to stretch out the muscles in the shoulders, forearms and wrists.

Side to side stretch

This is a wonderful stretch for the sides of your body. This feels so good if you sit a lot during the day.

Cat / Cow stretch

This is my all-time favourite Yoga stretch. Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are  directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line. Inhale as you arch your spine and look forward, exhale as you round your spine and look toward your legs or belly button. This stretches the front torso and neck. It provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs.

Extended arm/leg

Balancing Table Pose builds abdominal and lower back strength. It warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine, shoulders, and hips, while gently stretching the torso. Because of the balancing challenge, this pose also helps to improve focus, coordination, and overall physical equilibrium. When you coordinate your movement with your breath, the pose also helps to relieve stress, fatigue, and tension.

Modified side plank

This pose really stretches your sides. Keep your eyes on the outstretched hand if you are keeping it pointed to the top.For those who want a bigger stretch, it is safe to slowly and gently move the lifted hand towards your back.

Side Plank Pose

A powerful arm and wrist strengthener, Side Plank takes its two-armed sibling to the next level, as an arm balance.The full version of Vasisthasana, as taught by BKS Iyengar, with the top leg raised perpendicular to the floor, is challenging for most beginners. So here, we practice modified versions suitable for all levels of students. Vasistha in Sanskrit  literally means “most excellent, best, richest.”

Twisting breathing Kriya

This is a great energy boost. This always bring new energy and clarity to my mind after I practice it. Any spinal exercises are great for your nervous system. Any breath-work in Yoga is great for your mind, either to relax and quiet your mind or to give a boost of energy and clarity. In Yoga, energy is known as Prana or life force. When we control the breath ,we can control the mind

I hope you enjoy! If you have time, sit in Meditation or Relaxation after your class. Then bring your new energy and sense of balance with you, off your mat and into your day!

 

Sinead McKiernan is the founder of Love Yoga and teaches yoga classes, retreats and workshops throughout Galway and Ireland. For more information visit loveyoga.eu

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