Photo: Mattie B. of Santa Cruz
Really Healthy Real Life
Put down the chemicals and wake up your body.
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST DANNY ARGUETTY
It is early morning—your body is stirring to the world and beginning its shift from repair and restoration to activity and energy production.
Instead of supporting this natural process of vital awakening many of us self-sabotage. A rush to get ready for the day kicks the nervous system into immediate emergency mode.
Out of bed, into bumper-to-bumper?
- Instant worries of the days to-do list sparks our flight or fight protocols.
- Coffee on an empty stomach stimulates the adrenal glands into overload production of Cortisol (a potent stress hormone that in excess destabilizes the internal chemistry of your body) and throws the digestive tract off kilter.
- A sugary breakfast of white flour baked goods, chemicalized drinks, or junky energy bars create havoc for blood sugar stability.
Sadly, these examples are just the beginning of many low energy morning scenarios.
Below are some quick yet potent practices to begin to incorporate into your morning wake-up routine. Avoid overachieving! Go slowly, stop if it doesn’t feel good, don’t push. New practices should be begun with curiosity and ease.
Take your time, sample each one, and eventually string several practices together. Stay in the inquiry, noticing what works, and what doesn’t.
Nurture in Child After being extended for most of the night the spinal disks, hips, and belly benefit from a few deep moments in the child pose. Do this right in bed, and remember to place a pillow in between your sitting bones and heels if you feel any discomfort in your low back or knees.
Breath & Belly The breath is the most vital and primary fuel for the body as it purifies the blood from toxicity, energizes the cells, and creates a release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller. In addition, the belly is the second most important energy center of the body (the brain is the first).
No artificial ingredients!
It’s beneficial to churn the digestive organs first thing in the morning, to wake them and release any toxins the body collected during the night. In this practice we combine abdominal lifts (uddiyana bandha) with skull shining breath (kapalabhati).
Explore skull shining breath.
Stand with your feet a little wider then hip width apart. Take a deep breath through your nose. Then, as you exhale all air from the body (both nostrils and mouth) fold the torso slightly forward, bend your knees and place your hands above the knees on the thighs for support.
Ensure that your spine is lengthened, and squeeze your belly in and up, holding the abdominal organs and the breath. Once you find your brain saying, “We’ve held long enough time for air” take a deep breath in and stand up.
On your exhale, flow right into twenty rounds of Kapalabhati breath with both hands on your belly, exhale through both nostrils actively (doesn’t need to be at the speed of light, slow works just as well). In the skull shining breath, each time you exhale intently the belly pumps in and up, and the inhale is automatic, so simply allow air to flow back in.
If you get dizzy at any point, discontinue kapalabhati immediately.
Sit down, relax, and take a few long breaths.
Steady, easy rhythm
If all is going well, try doing three rounds kapalabhati. Both abdominal lifts and the skull shining breath strengthen the abdominal muscles, stimulate and decongest the liver, and tone the kidneys increasing diuretic action.
Danny’s back next Friday with even more morning vitality suggestions.
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Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.