Wessel and I have been on quite a journey during this lockdown, with Wessel having neck surgery due to a herniated disk, tying him down to the couch for 5 months, not being able to teach yoga or do easy exercises. And I on the other hand have hit a burnout point with my day job, working late-nights in front of the computer, feeling too tired at the end of the day to even do my yoga practice. Not even a simple 15min meditation was on the table. Even yoga teachers, who find it easy to stay grounded, can lose their flow sometimes. So we’ve gone back to the basics, which is something I’d recommend to anyone who is struggling to get back into their flow.
We’ve challenged ourselves to wake up at 5:30 am every morning and do our own yoga practice. sounds daunting, but we realised the only way to find some stillness is to start a morning routine and form some kind of positive habit. It really feels great to have all of that time available before we start work for the day.
Our practice consists of easy postures that focus on the joints, the digestive system and energetic blocks. This is called the Pawanmuktasana series. Some of my jogis might remember me teaching this series in class a few weeks ago 🙂
Pawanmuktasana 1 is an anti-rheumatic group of postures. all about releasing tension and lubricating the joints. This can all be done while seated and it is excellent for those with rheumatism, arthritis, and high blood pressure. They seem easy and almost a bit boring sometimes, but once you introduce breath and focus on each movement, it almost becomes like a meditation. We were taught during our teacher training to do the whole series with the eyes closed so that you can really tune into the body.
Pawanmuktasana 2 is the digestive/abdominal group. This is concerned specifically to strengthen the digestive system. It is excellent for people with indigestion, constipation, acidity, excess wind, lack of appetite, diabetes, and varicose veins. These exercises are done lying on your back and it involves a lot of engagement in the core, and lifting of the legs.
Pawanmuktasana 3 are the energy block postures. This improves the energy flow in the body and breaks down neuro-muscular knots. They also eliminate energy blocks in the spine, activate the lungs and heart and improve the endocrine function. This is great for people with reduced vitality, a stiff back and especially useful for menstrual problems and toning the pelvic organs and muscles. It’s all about movement in the spine and releasing pent-up energy.
This series is amazing for any age-group and repeating it every morning definitely has its advantages. Wessel and I are on the 3rd continuous week of early morning wake-ups and we haven’t skipped one day of practice. We are finding our flow again and are looking forward to see our students face to face again soon!
I think it is safe to say that this lockdown has made us all explore many new avenues in some way or other, and so it happens that I ended up investigating Face Yoga. Initially getting spammed by ads on Instagram, my curiosity got the best of me, and here I am now, doing face yoga every morning and actually feeling some sense of wonder for this strange practice. Apparently we have 57 muscles that hold up our face, neck and scalp, and we never think of exercising them or giving our faces a good massage every now and then.
Face yoga helps lift and firm the muscles under the skin, which smooths lines and wrinkles. Massage helps to boost circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, and release tension. Acupressure techniques boost circulation and relieve stress, which can aid in preventing headaches, releasing sinuses, and enhancing the quality of your sleep. Relaxing overactive muscles while toning weaker muscles helps to prevent sagging and expression lines. A term that I never heard before, is “lymphatic drainage” – Apparently when you wake up in the morning with puffiness and deep dark circles around the eyes, it means you have toxins that need to be drained out. Gentle facial massage targets the lymph nodes and drains away toxins, encouraging your lymphatic system to deliver fresh nutrients to your cells.
All in all, this has actually helped me become more conscious about the tension that I create in my face during the day, and showing me what I tend to do when I get stressed. I am constantly reminded to relax the muscles in my face, and I often use these easy exercises throughout the day, like pressing the pressure points next to my jaw, relaxing my forehead by lightly stroking it with my fingers, or tapping all around my eyes to release tension.
There’s quite a few interesting practices. I encourage you to look it up, and I’m happy to add a few of these into my classes 🙂