Off The Mat
you're not in class, you can still do yoga. You can practice the union
of body and mind anywhere anytime. Here are a few "how-to"
suggestions. You are welcome to call or email me if you would like to
When you wake up, allow yourself a few slow, deep breaths before
arising. Be aware of your breathing, noticing each in-breath and each
out-breath. In the shower, stand with your back to the water as you
breathe in and out, inhaling and exhaling as deeply as you can.
While in the car, before you turn on the ignition, sit tall and
twist your torso to the right and left. Exhale as you twist, inhale
as you untwist. While driving, when you come to a red light or stop
sign, look on it as a reminder to breathe. Relax your face and smile.
At your desk, bend forward to touch your hands to the floor and
slowly straighten up. Hold the seat of your chair and gently bend back,
lifting the chest and chin toward the ceiling. Twist your torso to the
right and to the left. Rub your palms together to make them warm, and
then cover your eyes, feeling the heat from your palms helping your
eyes relax. You can also do this when you are a passenger on a plane,
train or car.
Standing in line at the grocery store, hold the cart handle as
you balance on one foot for as long as possible. Then balance on the
other foot. Practice slow, deep breathing.
When the phone rings, try not to pick it up on the first ring.
Look on it as a 'bell of mindfulness', reminding you to breathe and
Before bed, lie on the floor resting your legs on the wall. Your
buttocks should be as close to the wall as possible. Focus on your breathing,
saying to yourself "As I breathe in, I know I am breathing in,
as I breathe out, I know I am breathing out." Bend your knees and
roll to your side to come out of the pose.
- Sit quietly,
simply observing your body, to see how the body is feeling. Notice your
- Gently pat your thighs with both hands, then your belly, your chest,
your arms, and finally your shoulders.
- Bring your hands to your shoulders and make elbow circles, first in
one direction and then in the other, feeling your shoulders, back and
chest becoming looser and less tight.
- With your right hand, reach up over your head to your left ear as
you slowly draw your right ear to your right shoulder. Breathe in and
out five times as you hold this position. Then repeat on the other side.
- Massage the back of the neck. Press your fingers into any knots or
tight places to relieve the tightness. You can use rubber balls the
size of a tennis ball (a raquet ball is ideal) or use golf balls instead.
- Massage the area under the clavicles, working from the center of the
chest toward the arm pit to relieve tightness in the pectoral (chest
wall) muscles. Use the balls here, too, if you have them.
- Bring your fingertips to the place where upper and lower jaw meet
and make circles with your fingers, first in one direction, then in
the other. Try this with the mouth closed, and then do it again with
mouth open. Walk your fingers along the lower jaw, from the ear toward
the chin and back to the ear. Do the same along the upper jaw, going
from the ear to the just under the nose and back.
- Bring the fingertips to the temples, making circles with your fingers,
first in one direction, then in the other.
- Tap the face with the fingertips. Tap the scalp.
- Pretend that you are looking at the face of a large clock right in
front of you. Moving only your eyes, look up at 12, down at 6, over
to 3 and across to 9. Then look back up to 12 and follow the clock numbers
going in a clockwise direction (12, 1, 2, etc) back to 12. Go counter
clockwise (12, 11, 10, etc) back to 12. Now rub your palms together
until they are warm. Place the palms over the eyes to cover them. Feel
the heat from the palms spreading into your eyes to help them relax.
- Remove the palms. Place them on the thighs. Breathe in and out through
the nose, noticing how your body feels, your breathing and your state