Yoga Moves You Can Do Anywhere to Help With Stress and Anxiety

Yoga

You don’t have to be a ‘yogi’ to realize the benefits the practice of yoga can bring to your everyday life. If you’ve done yoga before, you more than likely know that ‘yogi high’ you feel after a practice. It’s a feeling I wish could be bottled up for all to experience. And the good news is you can bring yoga into your home whenever you like.

My friend and life coach, Rachel Tenenbaum, who you’ve seen on the blog before (she also led my birthday yoga class!), is here today to talk about easy yoga moves you can do anywhere, with no fancy equipment, that help with stress and anxiety. 

Whether or not you practice yoga, and whether or not you are a beginner or extremely advanced, these poses anyone can do, anywhere. So, keep on reading to find out what they are. Take it away, Rach!

My favorite yoga pose for relieving stress and releasing from the day’s craziness is two minutes of “legs up the wall” pose. I absolutely love this pose as it can be done just about anywhere.  All day long our blood, courtesy of gravity, flows downward in our bodies.  Blood circulation must fight gravity to flow back up from our toes and our fingers towards our hips and shoulders. When you invert, for the first time in hours, weeks, months or even years, your blood gets to flow with ease from the extremities (especially if you lift your arms up, image 2) without having to fight against gravity.  Edema and Inflammation are greatly reduced as inverting the legs gets stuck and stagnant fluids moving again.  For all these reasons, “legs up the wall” is probably one of the most restoring poses for aching legs, knees, ankles and feet, and is purported to help with arthritis and many other ailments.

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So why two minutes? It takes approximately 2 minutes for the blood to recirculate in the body, and as it does, it can also reset the nervous system, especially when the focus is on the breath and relaxing the body. Modifications for “legs up the wall” include placing a block, blanket or small support under your hips and sacrum.  This pose should be done with hips 6-12” away from wall so that the legs can properly relax as their weight falls into the wall. Further than 12”, can add strain to the knees.

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Another great stress – and anxiety—relieving pose is child’s pose. I’ve included two versions, since for many people, the first version is not relaxing due to tight hips or knee pain. The second version (similar to puppy dog pose) brings the hips over the knees, which allows for a draping in your back and space to breath into your lungs and belly. Touching the floor with your forehead (or using your hands as a pillow) signals to the brain that it is time to relax and thus can slow the spinning hamster wheel of the mind. Both versions offer a delicious lengthening stretch for the back, with the first version also encouraging a deeper stretch in the hips and quads. The objective in child’s pose is to breathe into the belly, stimulating the neurotransmitters that calm the body and mind. (A modification for the full child’s pose for those who have pain in their knees is to place a blanket behind the knees, where the calf muscle and hamstring meet; this can alleviate the pressure and pain in the knees).

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Twisting! Twisting metaphorically “wrings” everything out. It is more difficult to breathe in a twist, but that forced concentration on the breath brings an awareness to the breath when stress and anxiety arise. This flipbook video gives a step-by-step on how to get into this deeper twist in a safe and accessible way. Why do I love this twist? Many back problems come from rounding and twisting, and this version forces extension with the twist (complete opposite!), especially when you are creating traction with your hands or forearms on the floor (traction = pulling chest forward through your arms or hands).  Hands flat on the floor is the most gentle variation, forearms down takes the twist deeper, and the deepest expression has you placing the hand towards which you are twisting on the floor where the elbow was, and leveraging the twist even deeper.  It is important you feel your body and notice at what point the twist is “enough.”

 

I LOVE forward folds. That being said they can be very difficult on the lower spine and legs when improperly done, especially for those who have tight hips, hamstrings or legs.  What we want to avoid is a very rounded spine with straight legs, as that creates tension in the lower back. When done correctly, this pose REALLY gets into the back of the legs, lengthening the gluteals and hamstrings, muscles that spend most of their day in a contracted position. Why this version of a forward fold works: By sending your hips back and reaching your chest forward, you work the back of the legs. Pulling your chest forward in this manner, using the support of blocks, allows for a traction in the spine (feeling taller anyone?).  Though in this picture my face is looking up, you can also let the weight of the head pull and traction the back further,  perhaps by bending the arms. Whenever my clients experience head congestion, I always encourage a good forward fold (even using the bent legs as a support for the upper body).  After a forward fold, much of that congestion clears.

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Lastly, I love restorative bridge.  With feet flat on the floor, you press the hips up and place a block under the sacrum area. Any level of the block works, but I recommend starting with the lowest, then moving the block around to see what feels best (I usually use the middle dimension). The block under the sacrum allows the lower back to both be supported while allowing the pull of gravity to decompress the spine. This restorative bridge also works to open the chest, ribs and lungs, making it easier to breath deeply (restorative bridge is often recommended for those who have trouble breathing i.e. those with asthma).  Note: if you don’t have a block, you can always use robust pillows or stack blankets.

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Thanks so much, Rachel!

Be sure to visit Rachel’s website to find out more about her coaching services, and go check out one of her yoga classes! You can also follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook.

Feature image borrowed from Rachel’s blog

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Do You Have Any Shitty Habits? Let’s Break Those.

How-to-Break-Bad-Habits

By definition, a habit is ‘a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.’ The key part is ‘hard to give up’ because it’s true…you can’t just flick a switch, and your habit of biting your nails since you were 8 years old is now gone.

The funny thing about habits (err – maybe not funny, per se) is that oftentimes we do them because we find them comforting. They help alleviate anxiety, they make us feel at ease, and quite simply, they become part of our daily routine. And while not all habits are bad (i.e. meditating every morning as soon as you wake up), many times they are. And it can be hard as hell to break them.

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The Lineup // 2.17.17

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I’m so excited because tonight I’m heading up to Maryland to meet my new nephew, Jace! He was born on Wednesday, and he’s the cutest little peanut. And, of course, it goes without saying that I’m equally as excited to see my other nephew, Blake, who is just the most adorable, fun little dude ever. It’ll be a quick trip, but I can hardly wait to get there and be with my family. Aside from that, it’s been a busy week, and it flew by! Are you  off work Monday? What are you doing for the long weekend? Whatever you’re up to, hope you have a great one! Enjoy some great finds and reads below. xo Julie

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This Fearful Flyer Loves Vonlane

Vonlane

A month or so back I decided to book a trip to Dallas for meetings and to see a couple friends and their babies. I had heard of Vonlane through my dear friend Lindsay who takes it all the time from Austin to Houston for work, but I had never tried it out. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to partner with Vonlane on my recent trip to the Big D! 

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar wth Vonlane, it is basically a first class airplane cabin on wheels. This is far from the Greyhound. This is luxury (on wheels). When I first told people I was taking a bus, their initial reactions were of surprise and slight intrigue. Then when I explained what type of bus it was, their ears perked up. 

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An Interview with Collin Bray, VP of Sales, Century 21 Cityside

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Something you might not know about me is that I lived in Boston for 4 years a little while back. Well, really, a long while back; it feels like a lifetime ago! To this day, it’s still my favorite city in the country. And someone I met soon into my time in Boston is the guy you’ll be reading about in today’s interview: Collin Bray. We quickly became close friends, and already back then he was killing it in his career. It’s been so exciting to watch his continued success these past 8 years. In my mind, he runs Boston real estate. You’ve never seen someone so passionate about their job until you’ve met Collin. He lives and Collin Braybreathes real estate (and he’s a looker, too, ladies!). He is the VP of Sales at Century 21 Cityside and I was so happy he could take time out of his busy day to answer some questions. Keep on reading for Collin’s favorite part about his job, how he balances his work life and his personal life, his favorite thing about Boston, advice for a newbie in the real estate industry, and much more.

When did you first start working in real estate? Did you know this is what you wanted to do since you were little? If not, when did you realize?

I started twelve years ago. I had no idea I wanted to get into real estate, but my father is in real estate and had to take me to showings as a kid so it must have been in my sub-conscious. 

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Let’s Talk Aphrodisiacs

Aphrodisiacs

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers! If I’m being totally honest, I’m not the biggest Valentine’s Day person. Yes, I LOVE love and am far from a cynic, but it’s simply just never been my thing. However, whether you like the holiday or not, I will say, it IS a good reminder to spread the love and to show those loved ones in your life just how much you care. And it’s also a good excuse to buy those Dove chocolate hearts which I’ve been eating far too many of recently. 

Another thing Valentine’s Day can be good for is your sex life! Yep, there I said it. It’s a gentle reminder to keep the passion alive in whatever relationship you’re currently in. Now, when it comes to sexy time, you have to be in the mood, right? And what if you’re not in the mood? Bummer for your partner. 

Enter: aphrodisiacs. 

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Lessons Learned from Gossip Girl

Lessons-Learned-from-Gossip-Girl

For the past many weeks I’ve been re watching every episode from every season of Gossip Girl. I think I’ve done this once before, but it’s definitely been a while. And, really, this show is simply the best. From the relationships to the fights to the drama to the love, it’s a good one, and I’m still debating whether I like Chuck or Nate better. Chuck has that sexy bad guy vibe while Nate is, well, perfect. 

However, we’re not here today to talk about Nate and Chuck because Dorota is really the shining star of the series, if we’re being honest; we’re here to talk about lessons learned from this ever so fabulous show. One might not think there are actually lessons to be learned from a ‘silly’ show like this one. Oh, but you’re wrong, my friends. There are plenty. So, let’s get into it. xoxo, Julie Lauren (get it?)

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The Lineup // 2.10.17

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Well, this week flew by quicker than anything! I was in Dallas for a couple days, and when I came back it was nonstop. This weekend I don’t have too much going on – a dinner, a brunch, and possibly stopping by a music/food festival on Saturday for a bit. Otherwise, I’m going to be getting a lot of work/writing done (or at least that’s the aim). I’ve also been re watching Gossip Girl and I just LOVE this show. Anyone seeing ’50 Shades Darker’ this weekend? I’m SO excited to see it. I’ll probably wait until it comes out on Netflix or something, but I’m definitely excited for it. Anywho, below you’ll find some great links and things I’ve been loving. Enjoy and have an awesome weekend! xo Julie

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Blackjack

blackjack

The other day an old friend said something to me that really resonated. 

The cards might be stacked against me, but at the end of the day I’m hitting Blackjack.

I seriously fucking love that quote. 

It encompasses a few different things that I feel very strongly about. 

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An Interview with Nicole Graham, Coach/Ambassador for Amanda Russell and Owner of The Garden Hen

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One of the biggest challenges it seems women face is the struggle with their weight. I feel like it’s a constant conversation and oftentimes an uphill battle. It goes well beyond the ‘vanity’ aspect. When one is comfortable and truly happy in their own skin, their confidence radiates and the energy around them is palpable. The thing is, we’re not all blessed with genetics that allow us to eat whatever we want and stay the same weight our entire lives. For those of us (most of us) who feel they are always struggling with their weight, this interview today I can guarantee you’ll love.

Nicole Graham, Coach/Ambassador for Amanda Russell and Owner of The Garden Hen, is a mom of 3 and a busy business owner, who was simply unhappy in her skin. So, she made a change. A big change. An 80+ pound change. She did everything from home (literally never went to a gym once), and is now coaching women along their weight loss journey. Her story is extremely inspiring, so the interview is going to start a bit differently…she’s going to share her story and then we’ll get into the questions. Keep on reading for how she lost her weight, her advice to others in a similar boat, what inspires her, and much more. 

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