Our lives can be so busy that we can burst past opportunities to enjoy the “slow moments” of our lives. The first moments upon waking are such an opportunity. Rather than jump out of bed and get moving straight away, why not try the following body-focused techniques to promote greater peace, gratitude, and centeredness in your day. Done together or as you please on a daily basis, it can change the way you relate to loved ones, your work, and yourself.
First thing even before opening your eyes, try taking a few moments to place your hands upon your uppper chest and notice your beating heart and moving lungs. This is a way to connect to the wisdom that pulses through you all day, every day. Before moving your hands, try focusing on those things for which you feel gratitude, big or small, and allow this sense of gratitude to permeate your chest. The same approach can be taken with the diaphragm (the soft area just below your rib cage). Let your hands rest very gently here and notice the ease at which your breath moves through your body. A beautiful meditation option is to bring into focus small ways in which you have received gifts, support, or unexpected good events.
You can take the time to do some simple stretches even before you leave the bed. Of course if you still have a sleeping spouse or partner, you might choose to do these on a carpet, but if you’re able, it can feel quite luxurious to stretch while still cozy in bed! Here are some ideas – pick one or two, or do the whole sequence:
• Circle your feet, first in one direction, then in the other. Repeat this with your hands.
• Stretch your arms above your head while simultaneously stretching your feet away from your hips. Hold this for a few moments, then repeat.
• Let your head turn all the way to the right, then extend the left arm at an angle away from the shoulder joint. Repeat on the other side.
• Bring your knees up into a tent position; let them fall to the right and then twist the upper torso to the left. Hold this for a few moments. Repeat on the other side.
• Prop your upper torso up upon your elbows and let your head hang backwards while opening up your chest, follow this with laying flat again and curling your knees into your chest.
• End with some invigorating breaths such as “breath of fire”. While keeping your mouth closed, breathe deeply and vigorously, emphasizing the navel contracting strongly towards the spine. 15-25 is plenty to energize you, but you may add another sequence if you are feeling sluggish.
These are some simple suggestions for interjecting new ways for self-care. As always, honor the limits of the body and approach these as gifts you can give yourself. Enjoy!