Day Eighteen SFY Mindful May Challenge – Practicing yoga at home #homepractice #yogaspace

day18-yogaspace-2day18-yogaspace-1One of the easiest ways to bring more attention and time to your home practice is dedicating a space for yoga and meditation.  Choose a space big enough for your yoga mat, a meditation cushion, maybe some props and an object to focus on during meditation.  It can be a candle, a buddha, or a picture.  Just something that reminds you to feed your soul and lets you practice drishti, which is focusing your gaze during your yoga or meditation practice.

I have a corner in my bedroom which is oriented east and west.  In the morning I face east and move my buddha in front of me, and in the evening I place my mat facing west, and move the buddha and candle against the wall.

If you have a pet, and your pet is calm, you may find they love your yoga space too…in my case, Paco makes for a convenient and relaxing prop. 🙂

And, a tip for parents…if you have young kids in the house, invite them into your yoga space and teach them that it’s a place of reverence and quiet.  Invite them to sit with you and maybe chant OM.  This is a great thing before bed.  I taught my daughter at a young age to respect my yoga space.  When I first created it she thought it looked fun and wanted to play with my props and statues but, she quickly learned that these were for looking at with our eyes, to help bring quiet and peace into my yoga and meditation practice.  When she sees me meditating she will sometimes just step in quietly and sit next to me…it’s awesome. 🙂

Create your yoga space to increase your awareness and mindfulness to your yoga practice and meditation practice.  Notice how much just SEEING your yoga mat and your decorated yoga space gently invites you to take your seat.  Namaste… – Yogamama Meels

 

Day Ten SFY Mindful May Challenge – Shoulder and QL (Quadratus Lumborum) stretch #SFYMindfulMay

day10-shouldersDay 10 –  On your knees with a cushion, or sitting in a chair, start holding a strap wider than your shoulders above your head, reach up from your tailbone with a long spine and neutral pelvis, then lean to the right with straight arms.  Keep slight tension on the strap with a loose grip in the hands.  Keep length in both sides of the waist as you inhale length in the spine, then exhale leaning to the right continuing to gently pull on the strap with straight arms.

Choose a comfortable position for your neck with your shoulders softened down from your ears, allowing for space on both sides of your neck. Either gaze up towards your top hand or straight ahead.  Continue this stretch for five breaths being mindful to breathe through the lenghtening and release through the shoulder and the QL (quadratus lumborum).

You may feel this stretch all the way from the outside of your left leg (IT band), up through the waist (the QL), near the armpit (the lattisimus dorsi), the outside of the arm (the tricep) and to the wrist.  Breathe slowly and avoid collapsing into the right waist; keep the right side long.  Keep the muscles in the face and your gaze soft.  Invite the softening and lengthening throughout your side body.

After your fifth exhale, inhale back to center with your arms evenly above your head, connect to your long spine and neutral pelvis, then exhale to repeat this stretch leaning towards the left side.  Continue lengthening and reaching for five breaths.  Keep the arms straight and long, gently keeping tension on your strap, and keeping space on both sides of your waist, and both sides of your long neck. Keep your shoulders down from your ears.  Continue breathing slowly, inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils, and keep your face and gaze soft.

After your fifth exhale, inhale back to center, gently drop the strap then close your eyes, sit back on your heels, set your hands on your thighs, breathe and feel what you feel.  Repeat one more set on each side.  With each breath, keep that spine long and feel the expansion in your rib cage on both sides, into your back, and under your collarbones.  With each inhale, keep the shoulders down from the ears.

Enjoy the openness in your shoulders and back.  Notice how this pose creates space in your abdomen and invites expansion for your breath.  Sigh and smile.   Namaste…

Yogamama Meels

Day Nine SFY Mindful May Challenge – Prasarita with shoulder opener #SFYMindfulMay

day9-shouldersday9-shoulders-2Day 9 –  Start standing in prasarita, wide-legged foward fold, and clasp your hands behind your back or grab a strap, gently pulling the strap apart about shoulder width. Breathe your heart open, shoulders down, root down into your tadasana legs and feet, then hinge at the hips, folding forward with a long spine.  Let your arms or strap come away from your body towards the ground.  Hold for five breaths, gently squeezing the shoulder blades together.  Keep the neck long with the shoulders down from the ears.

Photo note: to take these photos I set up my self-timer on my Nikon D7000.  Unfortunately, my blooper was not caught on camera.  In the bottom photo where I was reaching my arms towards the ground, my wrists reached Paco’s back and I completely somersaulted and landed on top of him…which he loved! LOL

Yogamama Meels