When you need to make a plan, choose moves to liberate your body and clear your mind.
When you’re trying to work on a plan, there are self-care moves you can use to release physical and mental tension—or focus your attention or function. These three movements from Jill Miller, self-care expert and creator of “Treat While You Train,” are designed to help you get clear so you can plot your strategy.
To get started, you’ll need two Yoga Tune Up® (YTU) Balls in their tote, a drinking or cocktail straw, and a yoga block or heavy book.
Forearms for Days
Equipment: Two Yoga Tune Up Balls and a table and chair
Most of life seems to takes place between our elbows and our fingertips, as we type on laptops and swipe and scroll on our phones. All of that forearm-focused action creates tension and overuse—all the way up to your shoulders and neck. This move can help you keep that tension in check.
- Sit at a table or desk and place two YTU balls in their tote on the table.
- Extend your arms in front of you and lift them overhead. Look up and see where your hands are, relative to one another and your body. This is your baseline for your range of motion—and restriction caused by tension.
- Place you forearm between the two YTU balls on the table, and roll your arm forward with your palm facing up. Then rotate your hand so that your palm is facing down as you roll your forearm back. Pause on any spots that stick, and repeat several times.
- Now extend your arms and raise them overhead, to check your range of motion again. The arm that you rolled will likely have a greater range of motion, thanks to the tension you’ve released.
- Repeat on the other side—and several times a day.
Equipment: Drinking or cocktail straw
When you’re trying to strategize and organize your thoughts, you want to be able to think clearly. This breathing technique restricts the flow of air coming in, which helps to strengthen your inspiratory breathing muscles and clear your head. You can do it standing, sitting or lying down, and as you master the technique, you can reduce the size of the straw or add length to further restrict your inhalation.
- Exhale and place the cocktail straw between your lips.
- Inhale through the straw, to your full capacity.
- Retain your breath as long as possible.
- Exhale and allow your body to return to normal, and then repeat several more times.
Boomerang Against a Wall
Equipment: A yoga block or heavy book
When your back’s up against the wall, figuratively, and you feel you can’t find your way out of a jam, it’s helpful to train yourself to breathe into a tight, compressed space and find you can still think there. This move teaches you to maneuver in that space and come out of it feeling more integrated.
- Place the yoga block or book against a wall, and step onto the block with your left foot.
- Bring your body as close to the wall as possible, making contact with your buttocks, as many ribs as possible, your shoulders and head, and your hands.
- Cross your right leg over your left foot. Pressing the top of your right foot against the block and engage your abs for stabilization.
- Place your left hand on your side to push your ribs out as you bring your right arm up and over your head into a long stretch. Keep everything pressed against the wall, even your right thumb.
- Stay in the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and switch sides.
Photo credit: Todd Cribari, inspirostudio.com
Hair and make-up: Mariah Nicole, mariahnicole.com