So, let's breath together!
To begin, find a comfortable seat in a chair or on the ground.
Place one hand on your abdomen, and one hand on your chest.
Allow your eyes to get soft or perhaps lower your gaze.
Now, let's begin to breathe with more intention.
Breathe in and fill your low abdomen all the way up to your chest.
Hold breathe in all the way at the top and count backwards from 4...3...2...1
Exhale from the chest all the way down to the low abdomen.
Repeat 10 times.
After the tenth round, return to normal, natural breath pattern.
Get up from your seat when you feel ready.
How do you feel?
Have you tried this breathing style before?
Let me know in the notes below.
And, if you are looking for some bonus (and FREE) gentle & meditation check out this video below!
(If you're in need of new yoga equipment for your home practice I have a full list of my favorite finds here. )
"I don't need a block, thank you."
I don't mind when someone says this to me. I understand why they truly may feel like a block isn't something they need for their practice. And, when I hear this I also begin to wonder about their idea of props.
Did somewhere along the line did they begin to equate yoga blocks and props as a signal of being less advanced... less able?
Very often to be honest I don't have to wonder too long about the answer to that question. I know that the answer is yes, and as for the reason they are tied to something very predictable - ego.
Somewhere along the line the idea that a yoga prop helps someone who isn't quite there in their practice starts to rub up against how that person wants to feel about their own physicality.
Props are often viewed like training wheels, something you are supposed to graduate and discard. While there are many ways our prop use might decline as we increase our mobility and strength, props - yoga blocks in particular - continue to provide new and interesting opportunities to enhance our practice and introduce new skills. They should be doing anything but growing dust.
To get full use of your yoga blocks one simple switch needs to be made in your mind: recognize that props are equipment, not crutches. When we reframe the way we view props the possibility starts to emerge.
5. Use the Block To Increase Your Range
When it comes to range of motion one of the best ways to use Yoga Blocks is to bring the floor closer to your hands when you are reaching out. This allows you to access the majority of your mobility for the pose from your hip rather than contorting your spine and shoulders to try and reach for the ground.
Give it a try: You can see use technique in any pose where the floor may feel far away Half Moon, Half Forward Fold, Triangle, Extended Side Angle and more!
When is this technique good? Feeling tight in your hammies? Noticing that you cannot 'flatten your back' or you feel the need to turn your chest towards to ground to touch the floor as you get deeper in some of the poses above? Grab a block!
4. Use the block to support your arms and engage your shoulders
Most blocks are several inches wide and are the perfect size to keep your hands and elbows tracking with your shoulders. This is helpful when you are trying to prevent caving in at your chest in poses like dolphin and forearm stand.
Give it a try: Try this technique by placing the block on the ground width-ways and aligning the corners of the block with your thumb and index finger (the L and J of each hand). Then take dolphin pose and notice your ability to apply pressure down into your hands and forearms without caving in.
When is this technique good? Anytime you are reinforcing your shoulder stability it is helpful to use a block to maintain good form and ensure your shoulders and forearms aren't rotating into wonky positions to accommodate your shift in weight.
3. Squeeze a block to engage your inner thighs
Blocks can add an element of challenge to your practice which can be particularly helpful in poses where inner thigh strength is necessary.
Give it a try: Place a block between your thighs in chair, boat or bridge and squeeze it enough that someone wouldn't be able to remove it from its place.
When is this technique good? There are a myriad of ways that this technique is helpful and it boils down to activating sleepy muscles. If you tend to be an external rotator by nature or you don't feel very powerful in your hips or pelvic floor this technique can turn on a chain of muscle reactions that can keep you stable and strong in poses like chair, chair twist, twisted crow, bridge and more!
Did you like this content? Let me know! Try some of these techniques and tell me how it went!
I'd love to you hear from you!
Need some new gear? Here's a list of my must-haves for a home practice.
"Help! I can't seem to workout consistently, and then I feel guilty on the weekends trying to make up for lost time." < Sound familiar?
During the work week (or if you work non-traditional hours - YOUR work week) there is this temptation to avoid working out because life is BUSY! The stress of stacking on one more task can feel impossible.
-Here's the thing: if you really DON'T have 35-40 minutes to yourself every day, something needs to change, and these things might actually more pressing than a workout routine anyway.
Since I know you're in a hurry here's the quick buzz (but keep reading for all the goods):
- Shorter but more regular workouts ward off a sedentary lifestyle
- Shorter but more regular workouts optimize your metabolism
- Shorter but more regular workouts reduce unnecessary stress, inflammation, and may prevent injury
- Shorter but more regular workouts give you less excuses to skip them!
How Much Time Do You Really Have (and how much do you need)?
More often than not though the 'I have no-time' feels more real than it is. The feeling of being strapped for time is the 1 thing I believe is often holding us back from creating a sustainable workout routine.
But it's wrapped in layers and layers of complicated feelings, making the solution appear like it must be equally complicated.
And here's the truth. A daily 35-45 minute workout (in addition to simply prioritizing more movement overall) can be the change you NEED to make your routine goals stick.
Here's why I think a 35-45 minute workout is a game-changer ...
When it comes to our Home Practice Space, your space should be SELFish. It's for your use, and it's also so that you can connect more deepen to your SELF. Everyone around us benefits when we spend time connecting with our Self in a mindful way.
So now that you're embracing taking time to 'ish your Self with a beautiful home practice space, here are my tips from the years I've spent building out Yoga studios and my best practices that you an adopt at home.
5. Establish Your Sacred Space.
Remember that you're setting up your space for (hopefully) daily use. So designating the boundaries of that space is very important, as is selecting an anchor for the space.
Inside of the yoga studios we think about the established space in group and individual levels. On a group level we spend a lot of time determining the configuration of the room. This literally means how people are going to use the floor. On an individual level it comes down to what types of mats and cushions we have for shared props. We NEVER skim on cheap rental mats or props - we offer high quality surfaces to practice and sit on.
The same should be true for your home space. Establish the boundary of the space AND also honor your space by sitting on and practicing on quality materials.
Here's my list of some of my favorite home practice products such as yoga bolsters and yoga mats - and of course I always recommend The Practice Mat.
yoga. fitness. lifestyle.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 20 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 10 years I have worked as a wellness coach, yoga teacher, personal trainer, and I am the Founder of Practice Everywhere.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜