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Guest Blog by yoga expert Lydia Sasse (more info below).
Here's a tip- print this out and keep it beside your bed for easy access with no screens/internet necessary!
At the moment, whilst many of us around the world find ourselves in varying degrees of social isolation or lockdown, it has become ever more important to implement wellness routines into our everyday schedules in order to take care of our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
Starting the day with a simple movement practice and some gentle breathing is a perfect way to help yourself enter the day in a positive frame of mind.
So often when we sleep, we turn into funny positions and end up with bodies that feel a little stiffer than we would like!
I have designed this yoga sequence that can be done on your bed, in your pjs before the rest of the day has even begun. This is important because I hear so often from my clients that one of the major hurdles to starting a personal yoga practice is the fact that all the other household duties tend to take precedence; you wake up with good intentions, walk downstairs to find your mat and then realize there is a mountain of washing up to be done, or laundry to wash or some excited little ones who want to clamber all over you while you try to practice your down dog!
This sequence neatly sidesteps all that because all you need to do it wake up, sit up and start stretching.
Enjoy, Lydia x
Sometimes called "Simple Cross-Legged Pose with a Twist," Parivrtta Sukhasana stretches the back, knees, and ankles. Twisting poses are also brilliant for bringin fresh blood flow to the digestive organs which is helpful before we eat our first meal of the day so that we optimize digestion. They are also great for stimulating the lymphatic system after a night of lying on our backs helping to drain any puffiness or swelling and give the immune system a kick start before you go out into the world.
What to do:
Cow Face Pose is a seated yoga posture that deeply stretches the hips and shoulders. It calms the mind and brings balance to the whole body. After a night of sleeping many of us wake with stiffness or aching in our joints; a lifetime of sitting/standing with less than perfect posture can lead to imbalances and this pose stretches the left and right sides of the body, top and bottom, at the same time, which can help to bring the body back towards balance. It also is a great chest and armpit opener and as Yogi Bajahan famously said ‘ when our armpits are open we can not be depressed”! What I think he meant by that was that if we meet the day with shoulders down and heart open we are more likely to receive people and events with an open mind and a positive outlook, but if we walk into the day hunched over and protective we look as if we are assuming the worst will happen this has a trickle down effect on our mood and the mood of those around us.
What to do:
The side planes of our bodies are so often neglected and these are the places that not only get compressed when we sit for long periods of time but also the areas that house our lungs. When we side stretch we open the intercostal muscles between the ribs allowing us to breathe deeper and fuller.
What to do :
This is one of the most well-known yoga poses of all time. Usually, it is done on all fours but it can be done simply from kneeling and sitting too.
In this version, I have included a simple shoulder release too because often out upper back gets tight during the night.
What to do:
This is a simple forward bend that helps to open the hamstrings, lower back and the hips.
Done on the bed it is even more gentle because of the softness of the mattress underneath, which takes the pressure off the heel and the bottom of the pelvis.
What to do:
Child's pose gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. It is calming for the brain and the nervous system and helps relieve stress and fatigue. This is one of the most restorative poses for back and neck pain. Child's pose is also known for helping us get to sleep easier and stay asleep for longer.
What to do:
When you have come out of the pose, take the time to sit quietly for a few minutes and feel the effects of your practice.Hopefully, you are feeling lovely and limber and ready to get up and enjoy your day.
If you have any questions for Lydia, or want to follow her on social media or attend her workshops or classes (which are currently online) please find her on @yogawithlydia.
Lydia also runs a health and wellness podcast with her friend Finn Murray owner of The Hopsack health food store in Rathmines; you can find it on the usual podcast channels and Youtube @wanderingintowellness.
The beautiful photographs in this article are taken by the brilliant Irish photographer Hannah Jayne Rowe. Hannah specialises in weddings, maternity and mum and baby shoots. You can find her @hannahjaynephoto.