Why don’t we like to sit with ourselves? Maybe because it’s not easy; in fact, it’s difficult at times – stillness invites realness and maybe we don’t want to hear what comes up when we stop scrolling and start listening.
This post is the third in a mindfulness series by Nina Endrst.
“I can’t meditate” or “I’m not good at yoga” – I hear these two phrases all the time and my response is always something along the lines of “that’s just not true!” I’ve come to realize that most people are intimidated by these practices because they both have to do with silence. We have become so accustomed to noise. So, when I tell a room full of yogis to hold a posture and breathe for more than a count of three, it gets uncomfortable for most.
This is a simple practice meant to bring you close to yourself, your center, the core of who you are. I invite you to get quiet and see what comes up. There is no right or wrong — only finding the courage to be present.
Elbow to knee
Start in a tabletop position. Press your right palm into the earth as you lift and extend your left leg back in space – toes pointing down, flexing your left foot. Inhale, extend and draw your navel in toward your spine. Pause. Exhale, bring right elbow to left knee. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
Child’s pose – circle the hips
Sit back into child’s pose – let your knees come as wide as the mat, drop your heart to the earth and rest your forehead down. Take a few breaths as you move your forehead side to side – clear the mind. On your inhale, come forward and circle the hips to the left before coming back into child’s pose. Take this time to move in a circular motion, lubricating the spine and warming your physical structure. If you feel called to add some different movement here, do so! Remember to stay strong in your core – continue drawing your navel in toward the spine. As you exhale back try and empty the lungs and rest for a few minutes before switching sides.
Come to lie flat on your back and breathe into the center line of your body. Bring your attention to your core, draw belly button in and up on your inhale. Interlace your fingers and gently place hands behind your head. Lift up and exhale as you bring your right elbow to your left knee and hover the opposite leg a few inches from the ground. Inhale, switch and bring left elbow to right knee. Repeat for a count of 30. Rest.
Bring the palms of your hands underneath your seat and once again find the center line of your structure. Take a deep breath in as you press your lower back down and bring navel to spine. Notice if there is tension in your neck, and release and soften the muscles in your face. Inhale, lift and extend both legs out, hovering a few inches from the earth. Exhale, draw your knees in towards your heart. Inhale, lift your legs up to the sky. Repeat 20 times. Rest. Repeat.
Bring your shoulder blades together and press your back body into the mat on your exhale. Inhale, lift your legs, bend the knees and bring your peace fingers to big toes. (if you can’t reach, don’t force it — simply bring your hands to your shins.) Breathe some space into your lower back and focus your attention on your belly. Flex the feet here and soften the outer hips. You are welcome to stay still or move slowly from side to side, making this a bit more playful. Stay for 5 minutes and then bring the soles of your feet to the mat and your hands to your thighs to rest.
Photo and GIFs by Matthew Johnson.