Friday, December 2, 2011

Slow Down

As we approach another holiday season, it seems like things begin to get a bit more hectic: company parties, holiday shopping, entertaining family, decorating, etc. Because there seems to be so much to do, we tend to rev up our pace in order to keep up and get it all done.

So, as a challenge, in the midst of all the chaos, can you take the time to s l o w d o w n ? ? As your "to do" list gets longer by the minute, realize and accept that you may not be able to do ALL of those things on your list in one day. Give yourself the permission to postpone some of those things for another day. Instead, be sure to give YOURSELF the time you DESERVE to take care of yourself. Take a moment to breathe, stretch, have a cup of tea, read a magazine article, or something that you enjoy that would be relaxing and rejuvenating. Better to have the strength and energy to pursue your long list of "to-do's" rather than feel like you're dragging your feet and trying to keep up.

For today's practice, let's simply move through one Sun Salutation slowly,, then finish in a seated or reclining posture to give you that simple gift to yourself of slowing down during this holiday season.

A Slow Sun Salutation
Start in Mountain Pose. Take a moment here to get in tuned with your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply so your mind and body can relax completely.
Inhale to extend your arms overhead. Take your time breathing in and lifting your arms. Slowly count to five (1.....2.....3.....4.....5) as you move into Extended Mountain Pose.
Using the same pace of breath, exhale to Forward Fold.
Inhale to lift slowly to extend your spine.
Exhale and step both feet back to Plank Pose.
Lower very slowly to Chaturanga Dandasana.
Inhale and lift into Upward Facing Dog.
Exhale into Downward Facing Dog.

Remember, move very slowly through this sequence. There is no rush. If you'd like, move even slower...perhaps a slow count of 7 or 10 as you breathe and move. The idea is to take your time, move slowly, and not feel the pressure of time at your heels.
After Downward Facing Dog, feel free to move into Child's Pose then a seated or reclining posture to complete your practice.

Hold onto this new sensation of relaxation. Carry it with you the rest of the day and evening. If you're able, take moments throughout the day to take slow deep breaths. Use this exercise as a reminder that it is ALWAYS good to give back to yourself and to take care of yourself.


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