Exercises- Conscious Movement & Relaxation

 

If at any point during this exercise you’re feeling overwhelmed, feel free to pause and take a breath, or to stop entirely.

  1. Standing with your feet aligned your shoulders. Check in with yourself. Feel the ground underneath you. Notice your thoughts, your breath, your emotions. 
  2. Breathe in and reach your arms around and up towards the sky, touching your hands at the top. 
  3. Breath out as you bring your hands down in front of your torso 
  4. Repeat this movement and breath 5-10 times, at your own pace. 
  5. Lift your right arm up towards the sky and over to the left.
  1. Bend to the side. Notice any sensations in your ribs, your side. Notice your breath and the feeling of your feet on the ground. 

After about 5 breaths, repeat the movement on the other side.

  1. Come into a hovering chair shape by bending your knees and sitting back and down.  You can keep your arms at your sides, or you can reach them up towards the sky. 

Try to stay here for 5 deep breaths. Observe how your breathing is affected by this shape.

Stand back up. 

  1. If you are curious to try a bit more movement,  step one foot forward into a lunge shape, with the front knee over the front ankle. Try staying here.

Try to inhale and stretch your arms toward the sky. And as you exhale, straighten your front leg and bring your arms to your sides. Repeat this for 5-10 breaths.

After that, repeat these motions, but put your other foot forward. 

Step one foot forward into a lunge shape, with the front knee over the front ankle. Try staying here.

Try to inhale and stretch your arms toward the sky. And as you exhale, straighten your front leg and bring your arms to your sides. Repeat this for 5-10 breaths.

Notice any sensations in your body – tension or emotion. You may also not feel much of anything at all. 

Return to a standing position.

  1. Now, try a forward fold. Lean forward, folding your body in half. Allow your torso and arms to dangle towards the floor. Your knees might bend a little or a lot. If you’d like, you can cross your arms and hold onto opposite elbows. Stay in this shape for 5 breaths and notice how you feel. 

Stand up straight. 

  1. Now, move into a seated position, sitting with legs crossed and your right leg on top.Try bending forward, walking your hands away from your body. Stay here for 5-10 breaths. Repeat the exercise with your legs crossed the other way, with your left leg on top. Walk your hands back out in front of you, and stay here for 5 – 10 breaths. You might notice a stretch in your back or legs. 
  2. Move back into a seated position. You can stretch your back a bit more by placing your hands on your knees, inhaling, arching your shoulders back, and looking towards the ceiling. While exhaling, round your back, move your chin towards your chest, and let your shoulders roll forward. Again, feel free to repeat this movement up to 10 times, following the pace of your own breath. 

Return to a neutral seated position, legs still crossed. 

  1. Try some shoulder movements. Roll your shoulders forward and down in circles. When you are ready, roll them in the other direction – rolling the shoulders up towards the ears, then back and around. 
  2. To loosen up through the neck and shoulders, lower your chin to your chest and allow your head to rock side to side, bringing the left ear towards the left shoulder, then allowing the head to rock back through the center, bringing the right ear towards the right shoulder. Rock back and forth at the pace that feels right for you, for about 5 breaths. 

Return to a neutral seated position with your legs still crossed. 

  1. Now, explore a gentle twist. Simply twist your body to the left, taking the left fingertips to the ground behind your back, placing your right hand on your left knee for support. Notice the ground beneath your body, supporting and holding you up– try breathing a little more deeply on the inhale and exhale, for around 5 breaths. 

When you finish, twist your body over to the right, taking your right fingertips behind your back, and your left hand to your right knee for support. Inhale and exhale for around 5 breaths.

  1. Now let’s try a gentle awareness meditation. If you are feeling down or depressed, you might try doing this for a shorter time. Find a comfortable position – laying down, sitting up, or sitting in a chair. 

You can either close your eyes or keep them open. Notice the feeling of the ground or chair beneath you, the feeling of the air on your skin, and your own breathing. Bring your attention to the top of your head, back of your head, sides of your head, ears, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, jaw, throat and neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, palms, backs of the hands, and fingers. 

Bring your attention to the upper back and chest, middle back and ribs, lower back and abdomen, hips and seat, upper legs, knees, lower legs, ankles, tops of the feet, soles of the feet, toes. Notice your whole body.….Try staying in this position for one to five minutes. 

  1. Bring your attention back to your body, opening your eyes if they are closed and noticing what you see in front of you or above you. In the privacy of your own mind, name what you see. Maybe a wood floor. Blue curtains. A green tree. A white wall. If you’

If you’re laying down, find your way to a sitting position again. Check in with your body, your breath, and your feelings. Notice any changes you might observe as a result of our practice. 

 

Conclusion

 

Simple. Whenever you feel a need to calm yourself and relieve stress, or activate, re-engage, and reintegrate yourself into your body, remember these exercises.