I’m not a Yogi! but I thought Yoga poses as a self-care challenge was a really creative idea, especially since our self-care love language focus for the month is physical touch. I went back and forth with this idea for awhile because I felt compelled to talk about the benefits of Yoga in this post for obvious reasons. But again, I’m not a Yogi. And although I’ve done Yoga many times and really enjoy it, I can’t discuss anything beyond the very basics. My goal with today’s post was to only use poses that require you to literally touch different parts of your body while you’re in said pose. I also planned on doing some research on the benefits of the pose and in my description, I planned on explaining how the benefit of said pose relates to self-care. Did you follow all of that? lol
The practice of Yoga is a form of physical (or external) self-care but I also think Yoga can be a form of emotional (or internal) self-care. Apart of the practice is for us to get in tuned with our bodies by breathing through and with each pose as we transform into them. I love Yoga but if you’ve never done it before, if it looks easy, trust me, it’s not. In my opinion it requires a lot of upper and (and in some cases lower) body strength, and with some poses, a great deal of flexibility and balance. It’s a pretty popular form of workout but for those who aren’t quite familiar, Yoga is a “mind and body practice with a 5,000 year history in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.” There are also many forms, some of which includes: Vinyasa, Kundalini, Hatha, Power, Restorative, and Hot.
To start off this week’s Yoga pose self-care challenge, I want to present the challenges as if we are embarking on a seven day yoga practice. In other words, instead of doing each pose in one setting we will do one pose each day. Got it?
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT AN EXPERT, AND I AM NOT MAKING ANY RECOMMENDATIONS. I’M ONLY SHARING INFORMATION. IF YOU CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY OF THE ACTIVITIES BELOW, YOU ARE DOING SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.
After writing this post, I came back and wrote this paragraph. I sat and thought about how this relates to self-care. Aside from engaging in a overly condensed version of a Yoga practice, I wasn’t sure if anyone would see the benefit in standing in the Tree pose and calling it self-care. On many of my past blog post I talk about how self-care may only take a few minutes sometimes. This is one of those times. For each of the challenges below, I’ve provided a hyperlink that gives step by step instructions for each pose. I’m encouraging you to take the few minutes that it will take you to do these poses seriously. For example, for each step of the instructions below, put a great deal of focus on your breathing. If the instructions state that you should raise your arm and then lower them. Inhale on the raise and exhale when you lower. Stay in each of the poses for as long as you feel comfortable, repeat each pose as many times as you feel comfortable, and if it helps; do these challenges first thing in the morning, right before bed, when you feel stressed, multiple times throughout the day, or when you need a break. Everything I just explained is how you’ll find your self-care moment each day in the challenges below. Also, don’t forget to focus on the benefits of touch in these poses. After all, the purpose of these challenge options is physical touch.
- WARM UP
Sunday–CHILD’S POSE child’s pose is a resting Yoga pose that’s usually done before and after each Yoga practice. It’s classified as a chance to stop what you’re doing, reconnect with your breath and assess what you’re doing. While this is typically practiced during Yoga, I think there may be some benefits in getting into this position when you feel overwhelmed throughout your day. Some added benefits of child’s pose is; it’s a gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs, and ankles. Read more about Child’s Pose HERE.
Monday–HALF LORD OF THE FISHES also known as the seated spinal twist, this pose is known as one of the 12 basic poses of Hatha Yoga. This pose also welcomes energy into the spine and helps with stimulating proper digestion while improving your postural and body awareness. Read more about Half Lord of the Fishes HERE and HERE. Based on the benefits of this pose, I think it will be great for those of us who are working form home and are stuck in the same seated position for a long period of time. I suggest practicing this multiple times throughout the day.
Tuesday–TREE this pose is said to establish strength and balance in your legs and is usually the first standing balance pose that’s taught to Yoga beginners because it’s the easiest. The benefits of this pose is; it helps you feel steady, centered, and grounded and it strengthens your core and stretches your groin area and inner thighs. Read more about Tree HERE and HERE.
Wednesday–TRIANGLE this is a staple Yoga pose and you will likely encounter this pose in all variations of Yoga classes. The basic concept of this pose is to stretch the hamstring. This pose also improves your balance and stability and similar to most other poses, it stretches your groin, legs, and hips. Learn more about Triangle HERE and HERE.
Thursday–SIDE PLANK this pose has a few variations and is classified as a powerful arm and wrist strengthener. The side plank improves your core strength regardless of which variation you choose to do. This pose strengthens your arm, back, core, and improves your balance. To learn more bout Side Plank click HERE and HERE.
Friday–CAMEL this particular pose is considered intermediate. Unless you practice Yoga or unless you’re flexible, I wouldn’t recommend trying this. It is, however, considered a more accessible backbending pose when compared to other poses at this level. This pose gives you a full stretch in your chest, abs, and quadriceps and is known to improve your spinal mobility. Learn more about Camel HERE. If you try this, please be careful when getting out of this position. You may want to watch a video to get a visual of how to transition correctly.
7. RESTORATIVE/WARM DOWN
Saturday–HAPPY BABY this pose is fairly easy and I think a great way to end the week of Yoga pose challenge. Happy baby is a relaxation exercise for your back and it opens up your hips, shoulders, and chest. It’s also a great strengthen exercise for your hamstring, inner thighs, and groin. Learn more about Happy Baby HERE.
These are merely suggested poses for those who choose to participate in this weeks’ challenge. There are other poses that fall under each of the categories above. For example, if you find that the Tree pose is too easy, you can try the Eagle pose or the Crow. Alternatively if a pose is too difficult for you i.e. the Camel, try Upward Facing Dog or the Cobra. I want to reiterate that I am not a professional and I’m strongly encouraging you not to try any of these if you are injured, have never done Yoga before, or if you have to consult a Doctor or Physical Therapist before engaging in any activity. You know your body so proceed at your own risk. Perhaps for some of you, the benefit in this week’s challenge will be to learn about these poses and their benefits. There is honor and self-care in learning too.
The Self-Care on the Go are essentially bite size versions of my self-care challenges. It’s open to anyone but its’ specifically created for moms and other working women who may not have time to participate in all (or any) of the challenges above, because of their mommy duties or busy work schedule. You can access the infographic HERE. I encourage you to print, save, or take a screen shot. Whatever is conducive to your current schedule. Please feel free to share it with someone who you think might need it.
By the way, if you’re interested, my Newsletter and Self-Care Accountability Worksheet is now available. The worksheet will act as a supplement to my daily self-care challenges. The purpose is to help you stay on track with your daily self-care routines. If you’re interested in receiving these items weekly, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The self-care worksheet is FREE, but will only be available to my Newsletter subscribers. I will NOT spam you, I will only email once per week.
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