Your home can be your own wellness space, your own zen-den. Our current global circumstance presents us with a new reality where we are spending more time within the walls of our own home than ever before. Tight bodies from working at home, anxious minds from to-do lists and news, stirring thoughts from limited social interactions, are all common in this time. On a positive note, this presents us with a great opportunity to learn about releasing body tension, enhancing a calm and balanced mind, and connecting with our physical and mental selves all within the comfort of our own home.
At any point throughout the day, there are tools and practices you can do, that will ease discomforts that come about in the body or mind. Movement, breath and meditation are at the root of these practices. Once you are familiar with these, you can take them at any time or in any space throughout your day, in your home.
A Mindful Morning Ritual
Your morning is a powerful time. It can set the tone, mood and energy for your entire day. Regardless of if you are waking up from a restful sleep, a restless sleep, or something in between, the benefits of intentionally and mindfully starting your day will bear great benefits.
It is very easy when you wake up, for your mind to shift into other places: to-do lists, notifications on your phone, social media, other people living in your home, current events/news just to name a few. This mindful ritual of waking up can be quick and simple and gives you an alternative, much more grounding start, to your day.
A combination of breathing, movement and a simple body scan first thing in the morning, allows you to start your day in a very present state. Know that you can do one, or all three methods and each will grant you some mental or physical benefits. This can be any amount of time; three minutes or thirty minutes. Whatever amount of time life allows.
Try this for a few mornings in a row and see how it can affect your mood, your demeanour and your energy when starting your day.
Checkout-to-Check In: Midday Movement
As you move throughout your day, you are likely inundated with messages, information, and asks. This can come from the news, work, family, friends…. the list goes on. This constant stream of information can build tension and anxiety within the body and mind, especially if you don’t have mechanisms to re-set or remove the accumulation of these external weights.
Yes. Midday can be a challenging time to shut off your mind. You are in the middle of the day, things are moving and flowing around you in full swing. Personally, I find a still meditation hard at this time of day because my mind is running through my to-do list. Instead, the incorporation of movement, postures, sensations and breathing rhythms to focus on, allows my mind to have a more grounded focal point to draw attention to, letting me go inward.
I encourage you to find a neutral, quiet, solo space and move through some guided midday movement. The combination of the solo space, the blood flow from the movement, and the attention you will give to the postures, sensation and breath, will give you the re-set and re-charge you need (and deserve!) to be more efficient, clear-headed and grounded for the remainder of your day.
It’s been said, that we give our electronics time to rest, recharge and plug in — why wouldn’t we do the same service with our own bodies and minds?
Try this 15-minute Midday Movement to get started — you won’t regret it!
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We encourage you to find a space and move through some guided midday movement. The combination of the blood flow from the movement and the attention you will give to the postures, sensation and breath, will leave you feeling clear-headed and grounded for the remainder of your day. @aetak #WellnessWednesday
Restore at Home – Restorative Yoga Props Found in Your Apartment
When your day is starting to wind down, giving yourself some time to decompress the body and mind from the day’s activities, can be soothing and grounding. A set of a few restorative postures can not only counteract physical tension but also relax the mind, leading to a more restful sleep. While not a vigorous, high intensity yoga practice, these long passive stretches, and holds are a test on the mind to slow down. This slowing of the body and mind allows your physical self to melt into the postures and find a new state of relaxation.
One of my favourite aspects of restorative yoga is the use of props to get optimal comfort in these long 5+ minute postural holds. While you are in your home, there are many handy and accessible things you already have, that can serve the purpose of restorative or therapeutic yoga props.
So, grab one or two throw blankets, some books, one to two pillows and a standard height chair. Now head to an open space where you’ll be able to spread out. Be sure this space includes some empty wall space or a couch as these will serve as great tools as well. Lastly, put on some comfy and warm clothes so that you stay warm during your restorative practice time.
Starting a mediation practice can be challenging. Knowing where to start, how to sit/lie, how long to meditate for, and who to have guide you, can be daunting.
The objective of any meditation is to quiet the mind, calm internal dialogue and thoughts, reduce stress levels, and ultimately be more present. Thoughts can affect emotions and physical health – meditation is a tool to consciously re-set or break from the busyness of the mind.
We are going to start with a low pressure five-minute guided candlelight meditation. Five minutes is a great starting point, it will get you seated, present, and becoming aware of your mind and thoughts. As you continue your practice and find ease in sitting in the present and calming the mind, you are welcome to stay for longer.
We will be using a candle as a focal point. As a beginner meditator, being told to “clear your mind” isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Being told to “watch a candle” can be a more straight-forward task for the mind. Additionally, our eyes are busy throughout the day. They pull our focus all the time, which in turn pulls our mind. To bring our mind to a flickering candle, an object (the flame) that is in motion, still gives the mind room to dance and react, but to a fixed object and therefore still maintaining our presence. TIP: make sure to keep your candle in an enclosed holder and keep the flame small – the mist from an essential oil diffuser would work just as well and is fire safe!
Whether you are a seasoned meditator or have never tried it before I encourage you to give yourself at least the five minutes here, to TRY to reset and relax the mind – this is so important for mental health and well-being.
Feeling like you could use a little extra support? Visit Wellness Together Canada – a program designed by the Government of Canada that offers free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals when needed.
Arin Takeuchi (Vancouver, BC)
Arin is a current Hollyburn resident, who earned her 200-hour registered yoga teacher certificate while in Costa Rica in the summer of 2014. She has taught yoga and mindfulness in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver in public and corporate settings. As her full-time job, she works as the Creative Director at the Canadian Company: Mindful Collective Co. – representing two yoga/wellness brands, B Yoga and Halfmoon Yoga Products.
From England, France and Portugal, to Morocco, Sri Lanka and Thailand to name a few — Arin has had the privilege of taking her yoga and mindfulness practices all over the world.
“The beautiful thing about the human race is that no matter where you go, anywhere in the world, you will always find people who value peace, happiness and love. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness can play such a beautiful part in that.” – Arin
Arin looks forward to sharing some accessible yoga and mindfulness tools and practices that anyone and everyone can easily take into their day-to-day lives.