De-Stress Yoga with Lola Berry
Hey Morlife gang! With part of the country still in lockdown, travel bans still in place and so much universal uncertainty in the world right now I’ve put together a few yogi poses to help you through these times.
There’s no rules when it comes to yoges with me, just enjoy yourself! Do not for one second think you need to be flexible. Yoga is super medicinal and can be practiced at any time of the day in your living room or anywhere. You also don’t need any fancy props, if you have a mat then great, if you don’t then no sweat.
I’ve been teaching free insta live yoga classes since ISO life became real-life in March this year and the classes go for about 20 minutes. So know that even just a few minutes of yoges can help to change your entire mindset and mood for the day.
I’ve put together some poses for stress (if your kids are running around, driving you nuts.. haha), poses for working at home when you get a stiff back from sitting at your computer all day long (that’s me!), poses to help you settle before bed. There’s even a pose for helping with insomnia that I’ve used in the middle of the night when I have thoughts going round and round in my head. There’s a simple pose to help ground you and connect your body to your breath. And a trickier pose in there to evoke balance in the body and spine. I’ve also included a pose to help you open your heart and lift your mood and a pose to energise you.
The best bit about ALL these poses is that they can be done in a sequence together or just on their own. You can hold them for anywhere between 3-10 breaths. In yoga we usually breathe in and out through the nose, but no pressure, what’s most important is that you feel good. Remember – have fun, don’t ever take yoges too seriously. If you fall out of a pose, that’s half the fun of it.
I’ve also popped my post yoges smoothie recipe in here for you too using the new Morlife Adaptagenic De-stress powder which my boyfriend and I love adding to our smoothies; they’re a great way to sneak in nutrition and they taste like a treat. To be honest with you, while I’ve been in isolation I’ve been craving so much sugar, so these smoothies are a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth while staying on the health wagon.
- To calm: downward facing dog
- To ground and refocus: tree pose
- To open the heart and give you energy: up-dog, wheel, camel, bridge poses
- To balance: Dancers pose
- To de-stress before bed: Childs Pose
- To aid sleep: dangling pose
TO CALM: DOWNWARD FACING DOG
If you’re feeling stressed out, work or the kids are driving you nuts, just get yourself into a downward facing dog. It’s an “active calming posture” so you will need to be using your strength to hold you up in this pose but we call it the “resting home base” in yoges so if you’re new to it you get used to it pretty fast. The trick with Down-Dog is to ground down through the hands, spread the fingers wide (think spider-man hands), melt your shoulders down your back, you don’t want to have your shoulders hunched up at your ears like they’re earrings. Then bend the knees gently and paddle the feet to feel your way into this pose. Take 5 deep breaths here for calming and grounding energy.
TO GROUND AND REFOCUS: TREE POSE
I love this pose, it’s so nice to do out in nature, even just the backyard to feel grass under your feet. It does challenge your balance but it’s a great way to reconnect to your anchor, your feet. Start by standing up straight, then ground down through the right foot and lift the left foot up to either the calf or inner-thigh (that’s the trickier option). Make sure you stay away from the knee (it’s prone to injury). Then when you have your balance start by bringing the hands to your heart then then extend the arms outwards like branches of a tree (like I am in this photo). If you really want to challenge your balance think about lifting your gaze to the sky, then if you’re game shut your eyes. Warning there’s the high chance you may fall over here! Haha and that’s a good thing, yoga is about finding that edge and falling is all part of it. Hold here for a minuet or 2 then swap sides, grounding down through the left foot and lifting the right to either the calf or inner-thigh. You should feel clear, refocused and grounded after this pose
TO OPEN THE HEART AND GIVE YOU ENERGY
I’m going to give you 3 poses here because heart openers happen to be my all-time favourite poses in the yogi world. They lift your mood almost instantly. These three poses gradually advance, so if you’re new to yoges, sticking with up-dog for now is totally fine! If you’re more of a seasoned yogi then camel and wheel pose are much deeper backbends and great for opening the heart space; when I was single I used to love doing them before a date so my heart would be open. Righto, let’s start with Up-Dog!
UPWARD FACING DOG:
I love this pose, you get to do it heaps when you do a vinyasa yoga class. It’s a gentle backbend and heart opener. A little trick when you’re in up-dog is to make sure your thighs are lifted off the ground, ground down through the hands, roll the shoulders back and down, then think about shining your heart open. This is an easy pose when its only held for a breath but stay here for 5 breaths and you’ll feel it’s actually hard work. It’s a beautiful back bend.
Now this I bit more advanced but it’s my favourite mood lifter, I used to use it as my “pre-date” yoga pose before I was in a relationship. It’s probably my all time fave pose. But you have to be warm to get into it and support your lower back at all costs so this one is for the advanced yogi.
this is also a pretty deep backbend, you prep for this pose with (bridge pose) I’ll include a photo here of both bridge and heel pose here (start by doing two rounds of 5 breath holds of bridge then if you’ve done wheel before and its in your regular yoga practice wheel pose is there for you, but you can stick to bridge pose if you’re not comfortable with wheel just yet) all of these more advanced backbends you do need to be warm for but if you so any of my insta life classes I usually teach these poses at the end of the class when peoples spines are warm and happy. I still wanted to include them here because they’re great for the mood and heart space.
BALANCE: DANCERS POSE
I love this pose, it’s a standing balance and it looks absolutely beautiful, it takes a fair bit of concentration and it raises the heart rate so a few rounds of dancers pose on each side is a great mini-yoges work out. Start by standing, bring your right hand out in front of you, elbow touching the body, left hand reaches straight up to the sky, then that right hand will pickup your inner right foot, this sounds weird but I’m hoping the photo explains it a bit better, then you kick back, this pose is also called “standing bow pose” so you should look like a standing bow. Try to stay in the pose a little longer than is comfy, aim for 1 minuet on each side then repeat again on each side. It’s a great standing heart opener!
BEFORE BED AND TO AID SLEEP: CHILD'S POSE:
This pose is awesome for easing and resting the mind and because the head is below the heart in this pose it’s super calming on the nervous system. You can even pop two bed pillows lengthways under your torso to make a bolster and it’s so lovely, you can hold this for 5-10 minuets, your hips will love you for it too. It’s even a nice one to get the kids to do too, its nice and easy but its super calming and gentle and great to help calm the mind.
IF YOU CAN’T SLEEP: DANGLE POSE:
if you struggle sleeping and wake up in the middle of the night try dangling pose, just get out of bed, stand beside the bed and start dangling; it looks how it sounds, you’re in a forward fold, legit dangling for 10-20-30 breaths, as long as you like, can stay there for 5-10 minuets, it’s a great way to calm your thoughts fast. You can hold on to each elbow of just let your hands sway or even touch the ground (that comes with a bit of practice). I usually like to sway when I’m in this kind of forward fold, that’s called “elephant swings” so your arms become like an elephant’s trunk, I like that name, super cute!
LAVENDER BLUEBERRY DE-STRESSING POST-YOGES SMOOTHIE:
I know this one sounds really fancy pants, and well I guess it is, but it looks so pretty and tastes unreal so I had to share it with you! It’s an impressive one to whip up for your mates too!
2 cups of frozen blueberries
1 serve of Morlife De-stress powder
2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil
½ a cup of macadamia nuts
2 cups of coconut water
¼ - ½ teaspoon of Morlife Monk Fruit
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
Then a few more chia seeds for the top and some fresh blueberries if you have them.
And a sprinkling of dried lavender (I usually just buy the dried tea and sprinkle this on top).
Pop everything but the lucky last few chia seeds and lavender into the blender. Then pour into glass and top with the chia seeds and lavender sprinkles!
For more yoga tips and daily inspiration, give our girl Lola a follow on Instagram @yummololaberry !
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