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Yoga Anywhere, Anytime

Yoga Anywhere, Anytime

Today we welcome Laura Lopez to our Cubby Community! She is a lovely mother, a yoga enthusiast who has been practicing since 2007, as well as beautiful photographer! We absolutely adore her ability to keep up her yoga practice after becoming a mom and are so grateful that she is willing to share some tips with all of you! You can also follow her more at lululopezkids.com or on IG @seekingmindfulness. We all wish you luck in your future practice! And now, to Laura :)

One of the biggest reasons why I love yoga is that I can do it practically anywhere, at pretty much any time, given at least 5-30 seconds.  Lately, as I've been caring for my six-month-old baby Emiliano, I find myself doing a posture or short sequence now and then throughout the day. This whole mom thing has been super challenging for me, and finding 30 seconds here and there to slow down and take a calming breath is both energizing and grounding. Something I'm definitely needing right now. :)

And more than being accessible pretty much anywhere, yoga is accessible to anybody. Any body, in nearly any physical state, is able to do some yoga. Sometimes my body is ready for a flow of several postures. At other times it takes all my effort just to lay still and inhale + exhale to the count of 4. But again, that's the magic of yoga. Wherever you are in time, space, and in your own body; it'll meet you right where you're at. I think the challenge of yoga is not about doing a posture (making a particular shape with your body or holding it for as long as you possibly can), but about respecting where you're at while still challenging yourself.

It is so easy to go into auto-pilot or go over board.  So to slow myself down, I direct my attention to the first thing touching the floor; inquiring and exploring how it's feeling at that very moment (stiff, tight, sore, etc).  I start with a slow, deep, and even inhale and exhale, to really get into the feel.  From there, I continue to work my way up the body until I reach the crown of my head.  Then I begin using my inhales to fill and expand every inch of me outward, away from the center.  I exhale to empty out completely, as everything pulls inward back toward the center (with the skin hugging the muscle and the muscle hugging the bone). Many times,

I can only manage 10 breaths before I run out of time!  If I have more time, I will start letting my breath guide each movement. Ever mindful of moving slowly, I bring attention to how my body feels in each new moment and place. Inhale - fill up and create space. Exhale - empty out and go a little further. Inhale - back off a little.  Exhale - take it a little deeper. Carefully tip toeing up to your edge (but never over into pain!), and trying to find the balance of ease and effort. Your body is actively engaged but you feel long and light. My breath is my ever-present guide. Difficult to breathe - ease up. Easy to breathe - more effort.

I do the four postures below a lot, but when time allows I love going to Yoga Journal's Pose page. I'll spice up my practice with a variety of poses, or particular poses if I'm needing some special attention in a certain area of my body. Whether trying a new pose or freshening up on a classic favorite, their explanations and videos are incredibly helpful. http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/

*There are countless variations to every posture. These are just some of my favorites. :)

Lululopez Yoga

 

Such a great pose! Also, check out her Woodland Creatures mobile by Pehr Designs Forward fold - So yummy always and everywhere. It's my go-to whenever I have a moment and am in need of some self-care. Feet hip width apart, soft bent in the knees. Let everything from the waist up just relax and hang. Let gravity take over. Variety of arms/hands, I like hands holding elbows for the extra stretch and to help with a swinging torso and nodding/shaking head. Chin to chest for a divine neck and upper backstretch.

Wide legged fold with twists - I usually toe heel out from forward fold, toes slightly in. Knees bent and breathing side to side as I get cozy into the stretch, then slowly my straightening legs (still keeping knees slightly bend) and placing one hand down and the other at my hip or to sky. For a little deeper of a stretch I'll shift my weight leg to leg as I twist. Head reaching away from booty, and booty reaching away from head, lengthening the spine. Switch arms.
Downward Dog - An all over intense stretch. Active fingers and hands (trying to keep the weight from being dumped into the wrists!), externally rotated arms with elbows pointing down. Shoulders sliding down the spine (towards the hips) maximizing space between shoulders and ears. Shoulder blades pulling in towards each other to help the chest reach towards the floor. Feet hip width apart and parallel. Heels reaching towards the floor. Soft knees pressing back, legs internally rotating. Stretching crown of head away from hips, and hips away from heels. Core actively engaged, pulling in and up.
Warriors- Sometimes when I'm needing more of a stretch (instead of the strengthening) I'll turn these into runner's lunges. :) But otherwise it's some serious full body yumminess. Tons of variety, especially with all the arm variations. Here's a classic fav Warrior I of mine. :) Front knee and foot pointing in same direction. I like the challenge of having my heels in line (with my front foot at 12 o'clock and my back foot at 2 or 10, depending on right or left foot). Both legs engaged with weight of the body evenly distributed. Feet firmly on the floor. Hips square, tailbone tucked under. Spine long as crown of head reaches away from the floor. Shoulders down the back, away from the ears (whatever the arm variation). Core actively engaged, pulling in and up.

What a great range of poses! Hopefully these will help you in your endeavor to stay stretched after having that little one (carrying them all day makes your muscles sore - lets be real!). Good luck in your own daily practice!

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