Mini Yoga Moments

yoga poses for waking up relaxation and abs south by northwest seattle blogger

It’s taken me a long time to come around to yoga. As someone who typically likes high energy workouts that leave you transformed into a sweaty ball of pain, it always seemed too slow, too boring. The Shavasana pose? Basically an excuse to publicly nap and call it exercise.
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When I moved to Seattle, my friend Rachel introduced me to her hot yoga studio and I discovered that yoga was not only relaxing, it was also re-energizing. I loved the feeling of the heat soaking into my skin and the burn from holding a position too long.
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Recently between work, making dinner, walking the dogs, and the rest of life’s minutia, I’ve been pretty bad about regularly attending class. However, I have found myself leaning on a few key poses throughout the day to help me better align my body with my mind.
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First Thing in the Morning
Waking up is hard for me! It’s usually about 30 minutes before you can even attempt to have a conversation with me. I’ve started doing a few minutes of the Cat/Cow poses first thing in the morning and it’s really helped me get my head in the game (of life). Here’s a short explanation of how to do the poses. I always exhale as I move from the cow position (concave back) to the cat position (arched back).
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cat cow

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Stress Relief

I carry a lot of my stress in my body, which is pretty common. My body actually gets stiff with tension. I used to just let the tension build and build, but yoga has helped me learn how to release it through breath and stretching. One of my favorite poses for a mini-moment of stress relief is Viparita Karani, or the Legs Up the Wall Pose. It’s a bit hard to use at work, but I often do it right when I get home for about five minutes. It feels great on the neck, back, and the back of your legs. Here’s a link to a quick explanation of the pose.
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Viparita Karani legs up against the wall yoga pose

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Before Going to Bed

At night, it can be hard to unwind. The blue light from staring at my phone messes with my body’s rhythms or I can’t stop thinking about a project that’s in the works. Child’s Pose helps relax my back and quiets my mind. The pose, illustrated below, is incredibly simple with a couple variations explained here. I’ve also started using the 4-7-8 mindfulness breathing technique, but I’ll save that for another time.
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child's pose yoga

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Tightening Up Those Abs
The season of swimsuits and crop tops is quickly approaching, which has most of us thinking about our abs. While I love soft and curvy look of a feminine body, I also think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to tighten things up a bit. Whatever makes you feel confident, go with it! My go to pose for working my abs is the Forearm Plank. It’s great because it works the full range of your abs in addition to several other muscle groups. Again, you can get the gist of the position from the illustration below, but just in case I’ve linked to a short video.
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forearm plank yoga pose

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Do you have any go-to stretches, moves, or mantras you lean on to keep you going? It’s always helpful to hear what others do to de-stress. My friend Erica just joined a meditation studio which she is loving. If you don’t have any strategies yet, I hope you enjoy incorporating some mini yoga moments into your day as much as I have.
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XOXO,
Jules
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Image sources: 1/2/3/4

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Friday Favorites

Hello and happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? Mil and I are hanging out TWO days in a row. I don’t think we’ve done that in years! Tonight I’ve suckered her into helping me line our kitchen shelves with contact paper, and tomorrow we’re going to a clothing swap. I’m on my fourth wardrobe clean-out in the last two months. It’s crazy how much stuff I’ve held on to over the years. Tops from college that I haven’t worn in months, weird earrings from Goodwill, etc. Are you a clothing hoarder?

Before the weekend officially starts, here’s a round-up of some of my favorites from the week.

Friday Favorites 1.23.15 edited 2

1. Many Serial listeners, including myself, were disappointed with the series ending, which was inconclusive. The good news is that juicy details have continued to surface, including the most recent announcement that a new affidavit from Asia McClain, the one witness who could provide Adnan with an alibi, has been submitted to the court as part of Adnan’s current appeal.

2. My husband is cruise-obsessed. He knows all of Carnival’s ships, and is constantly planning our next cruise. My first cruise experience was not great. We had an interior cabin, so enough said. Ever since then, Nick has been trying to convince me to give it another shot. This new luxury ship might be enough to tempt me back on a  boat.

3. My laugh of the week: Jennifer Aniston on The Tonight Show. This show is so much better now that Jimmy Fallon is hosting (#truthtelling).

4. I now live in a city with a seemingly endless number of yoga studios. Modo Yoga is just down the street from me in the Green Lake neighborhood, and they have an amazing trial deal for new members. One month of limitless yoga for $40! What?!?! I’m going to my first class tomorrow and can’t wait!

5. This week A Cup of Jo featured a post on different apps that can help run your life for you. Need an at-home blow out? Try GlamSquad. Don’t want to wait in line at the post office? Shyp is the answer! Of course not all of these apps provide service in the Seattle area. Get on it people.

Happy weekend friends!
Jules

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