Yes yes I know, ideally yoga is practiced when you have time, space and focus. BUT I also know that life gets in the way and sometimes you need to move your body and quieten your mind when you don’t have your mat or an hour to spare.
This is my favourite little sequence for the shoulders / neck / upper back and you can do it anywhere – at your desk, sitting on the sofa, kneeling down playing with your kids.
My preferred time to do it is actually while walking – you do look a bit nuts but who cares right?! I like to count my steps and tie them up with the counts for the poses (more below) but you can just go with what feels good for you. It’s great to do this while walking the dog or if you are a bit bored on a walk anywhere.
The counting becomes a sort of mantra for the mind, and when you tie in the movement too you can almost enter a state of moving meditation (just please be aware of what’s around you)
1. Hands together in front of heart. Breathe in and count up to four as you bring the hands up above you.
2. Exhale for four as you cactus down your arms so your elbows are at the same height as your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide.
3. Inhale for four as your pull your shoulder blades together and open your chest keeping your arms in a cactus shape.
4. Exhale for four as you bring the arms in front – cross left arm over right and bend both elbows. Hands come together in front of you – eagle arms – bring the arms up and the chest up to meet them.
5. Repeat – inhale for four up, exhale for four to cactus, inhale for four to open the chest, exhale for four to eagle arms with the right arm over left.
6. Repeat both sides as many times as you like.
Mantra is a word or phrase, that is repeated. It’s said that by giving the mind a mantra to hold on to it will stop running away with itself – so it can be useful if you want to quieten your thoughts or give the brain a bit of time off. There are lots of beautiful mantras but sometimes simple ones such as counting (as above) or even saying ‘in / out’ with your breath can be helpful too.
Let me know how you get on!