Hey readers! My friend Lauren (an incredible yoga instructor and reiki practitioner) is sharing some great tips for our self-care series this week!
Written by: Lauren Tamburello
Bio: Lauren found yoga when she was in the final months of her master’s in public health program. During this time in her life, she was anxious, burnt-out, and running on little sleep. She was not taking very good care of herself. Yoga helped (and continues to help!!) Lauren to sloooooow doooooooown, be more centered, and take better care. Just months after finding yoga, Lauren knew it was a practice that she needed to adopt as a lifestyle. Lauren completed her 200 hour teacher training at Lexington Power Yoga in Vinyasa Yoga. She is passionate about practicing and teaching safe and functional movement and making yoga accessible to all bodies. In addition to yoga, Lauren is a reiki practitioner. She believes in the healing power of touch and relationships. When she is not teaching, practicing or trying to incorporate yoga philosophy into her meetings and interactions at her day job, Lauren can be found dancing, cooking, reading self-help books, listening to live-music, drinking coffee, and having deep conversations with friends.
Check out this link to hop into one of Lauren’s classes:
Yoga has been my lifeline – primary self care tool – during the covid 19 pandemic. I have found myself pulling it out of my tool box at least daily – often multiple times a day. It has helped my physical body through movement and stretches after long days at work and excessive time sitting. It has helped my mind (and preserved some degree of my sanity :)) by providing me the opportunity to slow waaaaaaay down, let go of stress and anxiety from the day, and create a quiet space for me to process, reflect, and connect/check in with myself.
I have found it helpful to start and end my day with the practice – typically with just 15- 30 minutes. I have started leaving my yoga mat unrolled and favorite props <yoga blocks and foam roller> out for easier access and as a reminder. Sometimes I follow along to a class (I’ve included some of my favorite resources below) or sometimes practice without instruction and focus on moving my body organically and intuitively, sometimes with my favorite music playing. My practice looks different every day as I adapt it to meet my needs.
Where to start? Body & Breath I always begin my practice with a few minutes in stillness (usually in child’s pose or constructive rest) and focus on slowing/ elongating my breath and checking in with my physical body and mind. I ask myself How am I doing? and force myself to slow down and answer honestly. (Please note- this is not that easy to do! How many times when someone asks you “how are you?” and you automatically, without even thinking, respond “good” or “busy”. Try to answer with more depth next time you’re asked the question.) I often do a body scan, a tool that involves bringing awareness to the entire body, part by part. You can notice any tension, discomfort, etc. and work to let it go. I typically start at the crown on my head and work my way down my body to the tips of the toes.
Before/ after connecting with my physical body, I work to focus my attention on my breath and often will play with counting my breath – maybe you start with 5 cycles of breath (1 cycle = inhale & exhale) and work towards 10 cycles. I focus on sending my breath into my chest, my lungs, and into my belly and allowing my exhales to be just as long as my inhales. Sometimes I will try to take the deepest breath I have taken all day.
I follow this body and breath work with an instructor-led class or unstructured practice or will end my practice here.
Here are some of my favorite shapes-
Back, shoulder, spine mobility
Stretch Backs of the legs
Viparita karani (legs up the wall or block at lower back)
Figure 4 (can do this at your desk while seated or on your back.
Mantras that have helped me through this time-
I can do the hard things.
Do small things with great love.
Here are my favorite FREE classes/ instructors-
YMCA of Greater Boston You can check out my weekly live classes here!!! I teach a live virtual gentle flow yoga class on Tuesday and vinyasa flow class on Friday. I also teach in person classes at the Oak Square YMCA on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30a.
Yoga with Kassandra