Off to a Good Start: A Simple Meditation and Stretching Practice {health tip}

18 Jan

Resolutions at the start of a new year – we all make them but why are they so hard to keep? The promise of a new start inspires us to make BIG changes. But as a wife, mother and acupuncturist, it is difficult to find time in a very busy routine.

My new year’s resolution is simple: I want to meditate and stretch every morning. I don’t want it to happen some days, or every other day, but every day. I have incorporated a super simple routine that takes just five minutes with a host of mental and physical health benefits.Image

I begin each morning with a simple stretching meditation. Inhale, raise arms, exhale, fold forward into a standing forward bend. I follow my breath in and out for twenty breaths as my fingers dangle closer and closer to my toes. After twenty breaths, I grab my elbows and dangle them over my right ankle, making sure to keep my head relaxed, for ten breaths and then switch sides. Finally, I slowly roll up with my chin into my chest for ten breaths.

What do I get out of this simple practice? A host of benefits, including a little time for myself ahead of the busy day so that I can begin the day grounded and mindful. In addition, the physical health benefits abound, including:

–       early morning stretch of low back and hamstrings

–       release of back and neck muscular tension

–       decompression of spinal vertebrae

–       increased oxygenation to my brain

–       engagement of the relaxation aspect of my central nervous system

It is a simple way to ensure that, at the very least, each day begins with a focus on the breath. A breath I need before I start my day and my pint sized best friend is following my every move.

*This guest post is courtesy of Danelle, a licensed practitioner in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and yoga.  Check out Danelle’s site, Fine Balance Wellness, for more healthy living tips.

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