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Clinical Mindfulness All articles & news relating to clinical mindfulness, meditation and yoga in relation to the treatment of tinnitus-related-stress, and hearing loss treatment.

Three postures to loosen, lengthen and let go!

Loosen Lengthen Let Go

Sitting at a desk all day can wreak havoc on the body. The human skeleton, with its 206 bones, and 112 joints that facilitate movement of this structure, is literally designed to move. However finding the time, and perhaps more crucially, the energy to move more can be difficult. Start off slowly, aiming to add 10-15 minutes of extra movement into your day, throughout the week and weekend, and you may find that your energy levels start to improve. Increase the duration of your activity as you start to feel the benefit of using your body how it’s been designed to be used!!

As a starting point, try the following three movements at the end of each day, aimed at relieving tension in the back, shoulders and neck.

 

Yogi squat (Malasana): good for lower back and hips

Yoga Squat Cubex Henrietta Greene

  1. Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width, toes turned out slightly.
  2. Inhale and reach both arms up, overhead.
  3. Exhale as you squat down, bringing the fingertips down to the floor in front of you, if possible, or simply hovering just above the floor.
  4. Stay here for as long as is comfortable, aiming to increase the duration of this hold each week.

Alignment focus, what to aim for:

  • An upright torso, avoiding hunching over and curling the spine.
  • Knees tracking directly over the toes, avoiding them knocking inwards.
  • The whole sole of the foot flat to the floor, avoiding rolling onto the inner arch – if the heels are lifted, this is absolutely fine. With regular practice of this pose, they will reach the ground.

 

Forward fold (Uttanasana variation): good for lower back, hamstrings, neck and shoulders

 

forward fold yoga position cubex

 

  1. Stand with the feet hip-width apart, inside of the feet parallel.
  2. Press firmly down into the base of your big toes – this helps with balance.
  3. Inhale reach the arms up, lengthen the torso as much as you can without the shoulders hunching to the ears.
  4. Exhale take the arms down and behind the body, interlocking the hands together. Press the palms firmly if possible.
  5. Inhale, draw the arms away and off the body, hands pulling out and down, as you lift the chest slightly.
  6. Exhale, bend the knees slightly and start to fold forward over the legs, hinging at the hips, chest-bone leading, arms reaching up and over as you do so.
  7. Release the crown of the head towards the floor, and with each exhale, allow the arms to come further over the head, perhaps working towards straightening the legs.
  8. Bring the weight slightly into the toes, and keep the breath steady and strong. Stay here for a minimum of 5 breaths, gradually increasing to up to 15 breaths.
  9. To come out of the posture, inhale bend the knees again, and exhale pull your torso up by your hands slowly and smoothly. Release the grip of the hands, returning the arms alongside the body.

Alignment focus, what to aim for:

  • Maintaining length and integrity through the spine, avoiding curving or slumping in the back. Keeping the knees bent is a very good way to avoid this until the hamstrings and lower back are more open.
  • Maintaining space between the shoulders and ears, avoiding the shoulders hunching up around the ears. Actively draw the shoulder blades down the back.
  • Allow the weight to shift into the toes, not rock back into the heels, to ensure that the hamstrings are being stretched fully.

 

Standing balance (urdhva hastasana variation): for concentration, circulation in legs, ankles and feet

standing balance yoga pose

 

  1. Step the feet hip width apart to begin with. With practice the feet can press together, squeezing big toes and inner ankles, making the balance more challenging.
  2. Fix the gaze on a single point.
  3. Inhale, sweep the hands up overhead as you rise up onto your toes, lifting heels as high as you can.
  4. Exhale slowly let the heels come back down, arms lowering at the same time.
  5. Repeat this simple movement for five rounds of breath, focussing entirely on the sensations in the ankle joints and soles of feet.
  6. After five rounds of lifting and lowering, take an inhale to rise onto the toes and stay here for ten breaths.
  7. With each inhale lift the fingertips slightly, ensuring the shoulders stay broad and down.
  8. With each exhale feel the connection between base of the big toes and floor. Try to release any tension or gripping in the physical and mental body, and allow the body to hang from the fingertips.
  9. To come out of the posture, exhale and slowly let the heels and arms come down.

Alignment focus, what to aim for:

  • A strong trunk, keeping the ribs pulling together and back, a subtle engagement of core muscles by lifting the navel in and up, and a gentle tuck under with the pelvis to keep the lower back long. Avoid hunching the shoulders up to the ears or holding tension in the neck or jaw.
  • A strong connection of the big toes and mat, avoid rolling the feet out, onto the little toe. By pressing the base of the big toe into the floor, the arch of the foot is activated, which then causes the inside of the leg to be firm and strong, helping with the balance.
  • A clear mind will mean that balancing is easier than when the mind is busy with noise or thoughts. If balancing in this posture is challenging, stand side on to a wall and have one hand resting on the wall for balance. Try not to become frustrated with yourself – know that with practice, this kind of posture can be a very effective tool in calming the mind and improving focus.

Wishing you a healthy and happy mind
Henrietta Greene

About Henrietta Greene

Henrietta Greene is a yoga teacher whose teaching draws inspiration from varying forms of yoga, such as vinyasa, hatha, kundalini and ashtanga, as well as meditation and mindfulness techniques. With this multi-faceted approach to her teaching, Henrietta aims to help her students achieve a greater awareness and respect of the mind, body, breath, and of those around them. At Cubex, Henrietta works closely with our Audiologists to help patients reduce the negative psychological and cognitive effects of hearing loss and other audiological conditions. Henrietta is also trained in pregnancy yoga, using the WhYoga Pregnancy Technique™ and yoga for children, using the Yoga Bananas™ technique.

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