Happy Hump Day … you’re almost to the weekend! To get you to the finish line, today’s breathwork is also tied to movement (as it was yesterday for Day 1).
Wazzup? Well, a gentle standing move tied to breath that is designed to get us out of our chairs. Ya see, sitting contracts the iliopsoas, shortening that muscle group, leading to tightness and often pain in our hip area. Seated marathons also result in weaker hips, glutes and core (often referred to as Lower Cross Syndrome).
Being seated for long periods is a way of life in America: it’s how we get from point A to point B and how most of us do our work. So, let’s breathe and move to awaken our hips and glutes with gentle flexion and extension.
Time to stand and open and close our hips with our focused breath … perfect for a midday refresher!
Some tips to try:
- In this standing movement/breath combo, we’ll engage synergistic muscles to lift our leg and close the hip while stretching the psoas on the extension, utilizing our glute max & hammies.
- Start with small movements. As it feels good, increase your range. Have some fun!
- Keep your upper body somewhat *firm* … not stiff, but not moving around too much (except in the shake it off portion).
- We’re going to try and time our movements with our breath AND breath in and out through our nose.
- Stand next to your wall or desk for support.
- First, let’s shake off the morning. Bring your feet about hip’s width apart and give yourself a gentle full body wiggle. Move your shoulder back and forth and give yourself some big out breaths (maybe a little lion’s breath with your tongue out if ya feeling frisky).
- After you jangle off some tension, come back to stillness.
- With your left hand on the wall or your desk, move your left leg behind you, breathe in through your nose and lightly lift your foot.
- Come back to standing.
- On your exhale through your nose, bend your left knee and bring your foot of the ground.
- Come back to standing on two feet and give yourself a shake.
- Again, left leg back, breathe in through your nose and lift the left leg.
- Bring the left leg forward, bend your knee, breathe out and lift the leg.
- Keep breathing and keep moving. You got it.
- Breathe in, leg back and up. Breathe out, leg forward and up. Repeat 5 times.
- Turn so that your right hand can find support on the wall. Give yourself a wiggle (when in doubt, shake it out!)
- Breathe in, right leg goes back for a lift. Breathe out, right leg comes forward, knee bends and lifts.
- Once you warm up your right leg, give yourself 5 front to back with your breath coming in and out.
- That’s it … but don’t let this be the last time you do this. Allow yourself to do this throughout the day: before you drive to lunch; after a long meeting; once you’ve finished that report. It’s a reward and a refresher as well as the very best of self care all in one little combo movement.
Stay loose and curious with your body … notice if you feel ready to remove your hand from support. Try it. Feel your feet, ankles and calves engage as you wobble. Your adductor group comes online to stabilize you. Just an amazing orchestration of small and large muscle groups, working in tandem. Ahhhhh, the temporal exaltation of balance!
In Crossfit, we use a version of this to warm up the hip area and we call it Scales Front/Back. Scales are a class of basic gymnastic balance exercises in which the body remains straight while pivoting on a single leg. They get their name from the old-time weight measurement balance scales, where one side goes down as the other rises. Scales are also be used to assess and develop strength, flexibility and balance.
If you’re wondering why your esthetician is all up in this movement and breath, well, it’s a lifelong passion. I’m certified in vinyasa & restorative yoga, trained in breathwork, and studied mindfulness, holistic nutrition, and meditation. I’ve even developed a group of poses for you to use as solo movements or to group into your own gentle practice called Chillasanahhh (click here for more).
Common Sense Disclaimer: Use your best judgment when attempting breathwork or movement. If it doesn’t feel right or you can’t, then don’t. Breathwork and movement are infinitely scalable. Find what works for you and feel free to speak with your healthcare team about what you’re feeling. Choose well.