Mind & Motion

Morning Stretches!

Posted in Morning Energy by Meghan Pickrell on May 24, 2011

As promised, here are a few yoga stretches that I like to warm-up my spine in the morning. A bit of movement to wake up my back makes it easier to perform tasks throughout the early hours. Please be gentle if you try these stretches at home! Your body is not yet awake so take caution. These are only suggestions and other stretches may be appropriate for your body. This is just what feels good to me!

Here I am in my studio looking tired because it’s so early. Sad. Don’t worry, it gets better. I’m already getting blood flow through my muscles as I reach up to the ceiling and lift up out of my waist. I have my arms straight, fingers interlaced and index fingers released. As you may notice, my ambition is to reach through my waist upward and into my feet downward. I am then creating a side bend (a half moon shape). As I stretch to the right, my right side engages and my left side stretches. I will hold this for a few seconds and then try the other side.

See, now I’m warm! And happier as I stretch to the left.

Now I’m stretching my chest, shoulders and upper spine by creating an arch in my upper back. I could go further but I’m choosing to be gentle. I wouldn’t want to force my back into anything precarious so early in the daytime (gentle = happy spine). However, I let my head hang and reach my sternum up to the ceiling.

Aww! The beloved forward bend. (Please take note: I’m quite flexible in the hamstring arena so your hands might not touch the ground. That’s ok! Lean onto the edge of a bathtub or dining chair so that you have support from your hands while maintaining a light hamstring stretch) I am then bending one leg at a time and alternating every few seconds as a warm-up. I’m really feeling my hip sockets and lengthening the back of my leg. This feels so good that…

I place my hands around the back of my ankles and pull my body closer to my legs. I hold the stretch for around 10 seconds. It feels great! Now I’m happy and ready to teach.

Do you have an early morning stretch routine?

Say Hello to the Sun

Posted in Morning Energy by Meghan Pickrell on May 18, 2011

This was our view from the Hollywood apartment. Look closely and you will spot a parakeet.

This month Real Simple magazine printed an article with tips for maintaining energy throughout the day. According to Matthew Edlund, M.D. it can take up to two hours to awaken the brain. (This is why I’m always a little foggy in the am. I apologize to my 8amers) However, exposure to light stimulates your brain to stop producing melatonin while actually taking you out of sleep mode. So, my second tip for energy in the morning is to- let in the light!

This can sometimes be challenging if you rise before your partner or spouse. To avoid getting hit by a pillow I would suggest drawing the curtains in another room of your home. Although getting hit by a pillow may wake you as well. 🙂

Check out the day and weather and take a few moments to check in with your body as well. How is your energy this morning? How is your body feeling? Take a few breaths and think about what you would like to accomplish. This will help your brain wake up and give you a specific plan for the day. My next tip will be stretches for a stiff spine so stay tuned.

Breakfast!

Posted in Morning Energy by Meghan Pickrell on May 15, 2011

Happy Monday! (sort of an oxymoron…) This is the first of a few posts that I’ll be writing with suggestions for energy in the am. Check back this week for more tips!

The first tip for waking up in the morning is to begin the day with a healthy breakfast. Fill up this morning with whole grains, protein, or fresh fruit. Breakfast helps our digestion to wake up and gives us energy in the morning. Believe me, I need as much energy from food (and coffee I must admit) in order to get my day started. Today I made two soft-boiled eggs, whole grain toast and my beloved cappuccino. I will add a grapefruit for a bit of vitamin C.

Starting the day with healthy organic fare will create a positive cycle. You will then be more likely to follow up with nourishing food throughout the day. This in turn gives you energy and helps you to feel better. So wake up to delicious healthy breakfast. (Check back tomorrow for: “Say Hello to the Sun”)