By Brittney Hiller
This weekend I spent some time watching Rafeal Nadal versus Novak Djokovic in the French Open. The massive amount of power these two tennis players show — athleticism, mental strength, and stamina — was beyond anything I could fathom. For more than three and a half hours they played consistently — back and forth with the tennis ball.
Watching the emotion in their faces that partially portrayed physical fatigue and increasing pain, the question came to mind: How often do we pound away at ourselves without giving our body the rest it deserves? Are we constantly on the go? Are we lacking the ability to take a moment to sit, breathe, admire, and just be?
I would like to invite you to try these few poses that require five minutes of your time. These poses will help you strengthen your mental state, but will also allow you to find the rest your body may need for this moment.
DEEP BREATH MEDITATION
Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with your legs crossed or seated in a chair with your feet
planted on the floor. Place your hands on your abdomen. Begin to inhale through your nose. Exhale out through your mouth.
As you take a couple rounds of breath, begin to slow your inhale and exhale down. For example, I often invite my students to begin to breathe in deep and count to four as they inhale. Try this, then as you exhale count to six, continuing to slow down your breath.
Often we breathe with a quick breath and omit ourselves from obtaining the full amount of oxygen we are capable of taking in. Sit and breathe deep for six rounds of breath — close your eyes to allow yourself to feel the rise and fall of your chest and lower abdomen.
After you finish, sit for a moment and feel how your body has potentially changed in sensation. Perhaps you feel more at ease or less stressed. Notice how simple it was to sit and breath?
FULL BODY STRETCH
While seated in a chair or lying on the floor, stretch your legs long in front of you and interlace your fingers. Press your palms up and over your head. Inhale deeply and stretch. As you exhale, press your shoulders
down and away from your ears. Feel your entire body stretch from your fingers to your toes. Breathe in and out for six rounds of breath — on your last exhale lower your arms to your side. Sit for a moment to notice how you feel.
As you take just five minutes to be with yourself each day, notice the benefits you receive — stress relief and a moment to be mindful and clear with yourself.
We often walk around in a zombie-like state — full of thoughts, worries, “what-if’s” — when instead we can be right here and present with our wonderful bodies. Yoga helps us to reacquaint ourselves with our actual being, our actual true selves.
Nadal won his ninth French Open last weekend. I am certain he took a moment to reacquaint himself in thankfulness for his capable and powerful body.
May you do the same for yours!
To contact Brittney, visit her online at www.brittneyhilleryoga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.