2010 has been a tough year for many. People are working harder than ever (if they are lucky enough to have a job) with less pay, fewer benefits and uncertainty about their job security. It has truly been a stressful grind for our minds, bodies and spirits.
As optimistic as I am, the New Year is likely to be more of the same. But we must remain positive in spite of the challenges we all face, and take the time to nurture ourselves and others. We must also acknowledge the efforts we’ve made this past year and consider the blessings we do have in our lives.
I offer you the empowering and self-soothing suggestion to literally take a bow of acknowledgment, gratitude and self-care. The Yoga Tune Up® pose that I have outlined below works wonders to drop your blood pressure, un-kink the troublesome trapezius, refresh the suboccipital muscles of the neck and improve circulation to the brain! If 2010 has been a pain in the neck, let this pose loosen you up and “unclog” any trapped congestion near your precious mind. (By the way, this pose is also really helpful if you talk a lot on your cell phone!)
“Take a Bow” Pose
1) Reach your arms behind you, palms facing inward, holding a yoga brick, strap or long water bottle between your hands.
2) Squeeze the shoulder blades together and boost your chest forward.
3) Separate your feet about 2-3 feet apart.
4) Raise the block as high up as possible behind you, then bend the knees and fold the body forward to encourage the block to rainbow over your head and down towards the floor.
5) Allow your shoulder blades and arms to migrate into the back of the neck, with the shoulder bones sliding towards the ears. Imagine the brick becoming heavier and heavier.
6) Keep the knees bent for 5 breaths, then straighten them to the degree that feels “comfortable” for the next 3-5 breaths.
7) Slowly release the brick and roll back to standing.
Taking a bow is a whole-body symbol of appreciation, reverence and respect. Submit yourself to the sensation of these feelings while you are in the pose:
1) Breathe in gratitude and release the feeling of being burdened.
2) Breathe in awareness of the present moment and release the feeling of being overwhelmed by duties.
3) And finally, breathe in “possibility” and breathe out “negativity.”
2011 awaits, and you will be magnificently prepared to be present for all of it!
[reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life.]