Reduce Anxiety

Release the Frenzy and Ground in Gratitude

Instead of chaos, anxiety, and missing out, connect with gratitude.

There are days when everyone wants to get your attention. Look over here, buy this, do this, jump here. It's impossible for you to be in so many places at once. What can happen is that you end up feeling at a loss. What has passed you by?

Breathe. Ground. Listen.

If it is meant to be, if it is so important and vital to your well being, it will find a way to you at just the right time.

The key is to connect to the peace that passes all understanding that is within your being. That place where the anxiety and worry fall away. The place you need to be in order to make good decisions. Decisions that you won't regret. Decisions where you weren't pressured because of time or worry.

Before you let crazy emotions push you in the wrong direction - root in love with gratitude.

Here is a quick 8 minute meditation to help you connect with love and gratitude to the people in your life. Notice how you feel before and after the meditation. 

With lots of love and so much gratitude for you.

Namaste.

More Happy Shoulders

Who doesn't get tight, stressed out shoulders every now and then?  It's a wonderful thing to know that yoga poses can help alleviate that tension and stress that creeps unwelcome into our neck and shoulders.  In this post you'll find a video and some yoga poses that are super wonderful for releasing stress, lifting your mood, and creating a nice open chest.  We'll stand taller and look a little brighter. 

If you missed last week's post with Happy Shoulder Tips check it out first.

This series uses a yoga block quite a bit.  So if you don't have a block, no worries!  Grab a full tissue box, your shoe, or even a water bottle.  It's easy to get creative and work these things out.

Thank you so much for playing yoga with me!  It's a joy to share this practice with you!  If there is something you are struggling with in your practice, let me know in the comments below.  

 

with love and light,

 

BEFORE YOU MOVE ON!

Grab this FREE More Happy Shoulders Yoga Video

All the Happy Shoulder Tips listed in the blog are interwoven into a quick 14 minute practice! Gracie the Boston Terrier makes an appearance!  Don't miss it!  She loves Savasana just like us!


Happy Shoulders

Tip #1 - Be open to Adventure

shoulder opener irena miller

Supine Mountain Pose - Tadasana

Grab a yoga block.  If you don't have one, grab a full tissue box, or even your shoe can work!!

 

  1. Squeeze the block between your hands.

  2. Reach the block for the sky - bring the arms out of socket (be smart and don't hurt yourself, you just want to feel what you don't want to do).

  3. Draw the arms into socket.  Shoulder blades touch the mat.

  4. Do steps 1-3 three times.

  5. Then keep your arms in socket, shoulder blades touch the mat, and start to reach your arms overhead.

  6. Keep moving the ribs towards the floor and avoid over arching the lower back.

  7. Try this for a few rounds.

  8. Have fun and keep breathing!


Happy Shoulders

Tip #2 - beware of crocodile smiles!

bridge pose irena miller

Modified Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

 

This pose is fabulous for placing the shoulders into 'anatomical neutral'.  Where the head of the arm bones move back towards the floor, the shoulder blades support us on our upper back, and we set the stage for the coming shoulder work.

 

  1. Start supine (on your back :) ) with legs bent, feet flat on mat, hip's distance wide.

  2. Place a block between your thighs and gently squeeze the block.  (This will fire the inner thighs, stabilize the hips, help us to avoid over using the glutes, and basically keep our lower back happy!!)

  3. Using crocodile or cactus arms (just like the picture, arms are at 90 degrees, palms face up), press the feet down, thighs squeeze block, lift the hips.

  4. Take 5 breaths and slower lower.

  5. Give it another try!


Happy Shoulders

Tip #3 - Twist and shout!

jathara parivartanasana irena miller

Variations on Jathara Parivartanasana

 

This is a great one for strengthening the shoulders - specifically the rotator cuff and whittling away the waistline!  

 

  1. Start supine (on your back :) ) with legs bent, feet flat on mat, hip's distance wide.

  2. Place a block between your thighs and gently squeeze the block.  (This will fire the inner thighs, stabilize the hips, help us to avoid over using the glutes, and basically keep our lower back happy!!)

  3. Lift your feet.  Thighs still squeeze block.

  4. Root through your left shoulder - don't let it leave the floor.

  5. Lower your bent legs halfway to the right.  Keep both shoulders rooted!

  6. Come back through center and lower your legs halfway to the left, keeping right shoulder rooted.

  7. If that was breathable and easy, try straightening your left leg, keep right leg bent.  Thighs squeeze block.  Lower legs halfway towards the floor to the right. 

  8. Keep your left shoulder rooted to the floor!
  9. Exhale, root through those left ribs come back to center.

  10. Bend left leg, straighten right leg, thighs squeeze block, lower legs halfway to the left.

  11. Keep your right shoulder rooted to the floor!  It should feel harder than before with both legs bent.

  12. Come back to center.

  13. If you really want spicy, go through steps 1 - 6 with both legs straight!

  14. Pay attention to what your body is telling you!  If you're lower back doesn't like it, back up, do less, or skip this one!  Listen to your body and gut instincts.

 


Happy Shoulders

Tip #4 - Root to rise!

bridge pose setu bandha irena miller

 Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

 

In order to grow tall like the mighty oak tree, we must plant deep roots.  Because we can only grow as tall as our roots are deep.

 

  1. Using the block between the feet.  The block is at it's lowest height, feet are flat on the mat, and inner edges of the feet gently squeeze the block.
  2. Take a deep breath and lengthen through your side bodies - from the hips to the underarms.

  3. Bend the arms, press the elbows firmly into your mat.  Feel the upper back engage and the shoulder blades draw towards one another.  Notice the lift through the chest.

  4. Root down through the feet, the elbows, and the back of the head and slowly lift the hips up off the mat.

  5. You can stay in this variation or gently roll the shoulders underneath yourself.  

  6. Stretch your arms straight and press the forearms into the floor.

  7. Take a few breaths.

  8. Release your hands, shoulders, and hips slowly towards the floor.

 


Happy Shoulders

Tip #5 - Fill your well

camel pose ustrasana irena miller

Insert Italian accent - "Like-a dis or like-a dat!"  You can modify your camel pose to suit your spirit!

ustrasana camel irena miller

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

A camel knows when it's important to fill up.  If your well is filled, you'll be able to keep on going.  Feed your spirit!

 

  1. Starting from a kneeling position - knees and feet hip distance wide.

  2. Place your hands on your hips.

  3. With a deep breath, lengthen from the hips to the under arms.

  4. Draw the shoulder blades towards each other and down the back.  The tips of the shoulder blades gently press forward to help lift and open the chest.

  5. Use your hands to lengthen your buttocks towards the floor.

  6. Allow your hips to come forward while the tops of your thighs resist.

  7. Curl the chest back and open the heart.

  8. Repeat steps 3 - 6 and reach your hands for your feet.

  9. Gently slide the head back into the pillow of support that the shoulder blades created.

  10. Root down through the hands to lift up through the heart.

  11. There should be no pain or discomfort in the neck or the lower back.  If there is, something's off, come out of the pose slowly.  Skip it for now or modify as you need to.  

  12. Come out of the pose the same way you came into it.  Root down through the thighs. Lift up through the chest and slowly come back up.

Burn Out or Chill Out

Avoid Burn Out

Do you ever have that moment where you walk into a room and wonder why you’re there?  What is it that you were looking for?  How about that moment where making a choice seems to be impossible and you just want to sit down and cry?  Or my favorite - everything you try just seems to fall apart at the seams.

Our plate is more than full and yet we feel that there is no choice but to keep going.  As we keep going and dropping things along the way, we keep our fingers crossed that nothing will break, but it usually does.  We can only juggle so much at a time.  Pushing so hard makes us more susceptible to breaking down ourselves - maybe through illness, great fatigue, or lack of inspiration.

This is a signal that we have pushed beyond our limits and are moving into distress.  We become so stretched, it’s impossible to do anything well.

At this point I question, how can I keep moving forward in a graceful manner?  

Taking a break to prioritize what’s most important can be helpful.  One of the best things we can do, to avoid breaking down and getting sick, is to listen to that deep cry coming from within.  That cry that tells us to rest, pause, and heal.  

What can we do?  Or better yet, how can we “be”?

Chill Out with Restorative Yoga

There is a practice called Restorative Yoga.  It is designed to help us when we are feeling exhausted, overworked, distressed, and uninspired.  These are yoga poses that help us rest and relax deeply.  We are supported by props, there is no effort, no movement, and we have an opportunity to calm the mind.  We can even do these poses when we are recovering from an illness or a great sadness.

So this restorative yoga, what’s it all about?  

It’s a practice of deliberate stillness.  We lie down over a set of props (blankets, pillows, yoga blocks, or belts), and we allow the physical body to settle.  Tension and stress in the muscles start to melt away.  We tune in to the rhythm of our breath and allow the sound of the breath to bring us more inward.  We become more aware of our thoughts. And using the breath we can release the thoughts that no longer serve us, allowing them to float to the sun.  And then visualize the beautiful golden light of the sun washing over us and filling us with that wonderful feeling of warmth and love.

I would love to share with you one of my favorite restorative poses.  It’s great to do on those days where long hours were spent sitting or standing.    

 

Legs Up The Wall

This a gentle inversion pose where the legs are higher than the heart.  Listed below are 5 different ways you can try this pose at home.  From a very simple form with only the wall as a prop to using many yoga props.

I have videos for getting into and out of this pose at the bottom of the post!  Check it out :)

 

Getting Into the Pose

  1. Sit sideways, with your right hip and shoulder, next to a wall.  Lean back on your elbows and slowly swing your legs up the wall as you maneuver your torso onto the floor.

  2. Your hips can be very close to the wall if the backs of your legs feel nice and open.  If you feel tension in the back of your legs, scooch away from the wall a few inches until you feel completely comfortable.

  3. Rest here anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  Listen to your body and come out of the pose when you’re ready.  If you’re new to this, 5 minutes will be more than enough.

  4. Come down the same way you went up into the pose.  Bend your legs, roll to your side.  Pause on your side for a few breaths.  Then slowly come up to seated.


Alternative Versions

  1. Fold a blanket or two and place them a few inches in front of the wall.
  2. Sit on the blanket with your right hip and shoulder next to the wall. 
  3. Lean back and swing your legs up the wall.
  4. Your sit bones can hang over the edge of the blanket slightly.
  5. You should feel completely comfortable and at rest.
  1. Get into legs up the wall, as described above.
  2. Bend your legs into a simple cross legged position.
  1. Have blocks or books handy and prop one on either side of your hips.
  2. Widen your legs and allow them to rest on the blocks.
  1. I have a video below to show you how to wrap the belt around your legs.
  2. The benefit of the belt is that you can relax your legs even more and allow the belt to hold them in place.
  1. Start by lying down flat on the floor with bent legs.
  2. Lift your hips and slide a block underneath your sacrum.
  3. Your sit bones will hang slightly over the edge of the block.
  4. This pose is a little more work than legs up the wall.
  5. Remember you should feel completely comfortable.  If you don't, come down carefully out of the pose.

 

Legs Up the Wall - no props, just wall

 

Legs Up the Wall with belt

Benefits of Legs Up The Wall

Revives Tired Legs        

Simply taking the pressure off of your feet and legs and propping them up the wall will bring a relief.  Notice how the tension in the muscles slowly releases when you are no longer using them to hold you upright.

Reduces Water Retention and Swelling Around Ankles

The effects of gravity are reversed as you go into this gentle inversion.  Any fluids that have been collecting around the ankles and legs are released.  Your legs feel energized and lighter when you come out of the pose.    

Calms the Nervous System

You have an opportunity to move into a deep state of rest and rhythmic breathing.  Your body will move from being on edge and over stimulated to a place of deep rest.  You’ll feel the all tension and distress melting away.  

Quiets the Mind and Reduces Anxiety

Being held in a safe position and moving into a deep rest enables us to take a look at the thoughts moving across the landscape of our mind.  We are in the moment and paying attention.  We now have the ability to let go of the thoughts that are not serving our highest.  Release them in a balloon and let them float to the sun.

Greater Clarity

After staying in the pose for an extended time, 5-20 minutes, you will notice your breath has become more even in nature.  The extra thoughts that had cluttered your mind have dissolved.  And you have more energy from this deep rest.  The mental fog will have cleared and solutions become more visible.  


I invite you to try this pose and in one word describe what it felt like.  You can comment below on this post or over on my facebook site www.facebook.com/irenakmiller.  I look forward to hearing from you!  

 

Have a wonderful practice!


with love,