It is back to school time again! As a working mom of five, this statement used to have me skipping down street singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” But this year it comes with a big twist…whether your school is exclusively online learning, a hybrid schedule for online/in-person learning, or you have decided to homeschool your children it is important to take time out of your day to focus on the health and well-being of YOU and YOUR family. As a former homeschooler, one strategy our family employed before formal learning began for the day was breathing and yoga exercises. This helped us to set the stage for an optimal learning experience.
Some of the benefits of yoga and breath work include:
Start by lying on your back with legs and arms extended and eyes closed. Imagine your body is heavy and is slowly sinking into the floor. Take a slow, deep inhale through your nose expanding your ribcage and belly as big as you can get without straining or pushing. Hold the breath at the top for a count of 3. Then slowly exhale through your lips like you are blowing up a balloon with control. Repeat this 3-5 times increasing the hold time at the top of each breath.
From the above position, gently bring both knees to your chest and grab the insides of your ankles in your hands. Allow the legs to fall out to the sides to deepen the stretch. For an added benefit you can rock side to side to massage the lower back. Remember to continue breathing!
Roll over to your belly allowing feet to lie flat on floor and place palms on either side of the body with fingertips near the shoulders. Pull shoulders back and down, engage your abdominals by drawing your belly button to spine. Inhale deeply and on your exhale lift the upper body off the floor extending the arms straight and lifting the chin while keeping the hip bones in contact with the floor. You should feel a gentle stretch along the front of your abdominals. You should not feel this stretch in your lower back—if you do, you are likely not engaging your abdominals properly. Inhale as you lower back down and repeat 5 times.
Now move to a table-top or hands and knees position placing your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Inhale deeply and on the exhale draw your belly button towards your spine, arch your back up towards the ceiling rounding the back, and drop your chin towards your chest. On the next inhale move back to your tabletop position. On your exhale, gently drop the belly towards the floor allowing the back to sway and your head and bottom to tip towards the ceiling. Repeat entire sequence 5 times.
From cat-cow pose, curl your toes under and lift your knees off the floor driving the hips up and back as your arms extend fully. Keep your ears in line with your arms and eyes looking straight down at the floor to keep neck in proper alignment. Try to create a lengthening through the spine by lifting up through the pelvis and pressing down through the hands. Rise up on your toes on your inhale and gently sink down into the heels on the exhale. Start by maintaining this position for 30 seconds and work up to one minute.
Finally, walk your hands towards your feet, then up your legs to finish in the standing position. If the stretch along the back of your legs is too much, allow the knees to softly bend. Stand with feet together and arms at your sides with palms facing forward. Press your big toes together. Lift your toes and spread them apart as far as you can then gently place them back down one at a time. Keep your legs straight, core and glutes engaged, shoulders down, collarbones wide, and neck long as though there is a string attached to the top of your head pulling up to the sky. As you exhale, lift your ankles and arches of feet pushing your weight evenly through the balls of your feet. Inhale and lengthen even more through the torso growing taller through the top of your head. Exhale and lower your heels. Take a step forward into the start of a good day!
At Breakaway Physical Therapy we realize the challenges of juggling work, parenting, and schooling your children from home may make it difficult for you to physically come to the clinic for the treatment you most certainly need and deserve. For this reason, we are offering live, digital PT sessions from the comfort of your home to allow you to live your best life. Call 410-722-6333 TODAY to see how our exceptional staff can best serve you and your needs this fall. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals!