I like to feel good. I bet you do, too. And lately I’ve noticed that I don’t quite have my energy or “feeling home in my body” mentality that I depended on for so long. And then I realized why: I stopped doing my morning movement rituals (kids will do that to you, right?). Thankfully, it was an easy fix to get myself back on track. I love doing this little morning ritual whenever I need it… which now that I work at home is a lot! I love that five minutes a couple of time throughout the day can help me feel better.
Try it. You’ll see.
A simple, 5 minute movement ritual to make you feel great.
Go through all six of these simple exercises first thing in the morning, right before bed, or whenever you start to feel “stale” from sitting too much. You can easily do this in five minutes (the time estimates are just that… estimates. No need for a timer) OR you can take your time and really enjoy each one. Just get moving.
1. Deep Belly Breathing – 1 Minute
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet “standing” on the floor. Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position. It shouldn’t be tucking or tipping. Your pubic bone should be pointing straight ahead.
Place one hand on your belly. Tuck your other hand underneath the small of your back. Begin taking slow, gentle, deep breaths. Your goal is to feel a nice rise and release of the belly as you inhale/exhale while using your back hand to sense any changes in your spine. Your spine should remain neutral. If you feel your back flatten against the ground as you inhale, try again. Go for big, deep, slow breaths.
2. Big X Stretch – 1 minute
Start by lying on your back with your arms and legs relaxed but extended. Begin by simply visualizing the connection of your legs to your core, your tailbone to your core, and your arms and head to your core. Then, with a big deep inhale, extend your legs downward as your extend your arms up over your head—making an X-like shape.
Imagine your limbs like giant elastics being stretched away from the core, but still connected. As you exhale allow the bands to relax and soften. Take another deep breath in and extend fully again. This time as you exhale allow all your limbs to soften close to your core, making a soft ball-like form with your body. (Don’t forget to soften the head and tailbone, too.)
3. Cat/Dog- 1 minute
Get on your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Take a deep breath and feel your belly button reach back and up towards your spine. As you inhale, slowly feel your head and tail reach towards the ceiling. Try to let the spine move all at once, without leaving out any part of it. Don’t force anything that feels uncomfortable. Do allow your gaze to look up as you arch.
As you exhale, slowly move your head and tail in the opposite direction, allowing your mid-back to move up toward the ceiling. Look underneath your torso towards your tail bone. Feel your belly button gently hug towards your spine.
4. “Rev the Engine” – 30 seconds
Still on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Take a moment to spread your palm on the floor and feel your hands really yield or “soak up” the floor. Feel energy pour down your knees, out your tailbone, and out your head.
From here, begin shifting back and forth from your upper body to your lower. Use your breath and your strength to feel power as you move back and forth. As you push from your arms, feel the energy go down your scapula towards your tailbone. As your lower body pushes, feel the energy travel up and out the top of the head. As you continue moving back and forth, allow your momentum to increase and really get the juices flowing. Make sure your spine remains in a neutral position. Be careful not to tuck your pelvis under. This exercise also helps with hip action by finding a deep crease at the hip joint.
5. Homo-lateral Shifting – 30 seconds
Stand in a nice wide stance with your legs separated and bent as much as is comfortable. Locate you sitz bones either by touching them or imagining them in your body. Begin shifting from side to side while you imagine your sitz bones gliding right to left, parallel with the floor.
Continue shifting right and left and allow your mind to bring awareness to your heels. As you shift right, think of an imaginary line connecting your right sitz bone with your right heel. See if you can shift far enough to get your sitz bone directly over your heel. Do the same thing on the left.
6. Simple Spiral – 1 minute
Stand nice tall with your feet hip width apart. Take a deep breath. Let your eyes begin to move to the right and allow your spine to follow. Keep moving until you have spiraled your spine as far as you can comfortably go. Hold and take a few deep breaths. Try to keep the torso soft but tall. Slowly return to the front. Repeat on each side a couple of times.
Want more exercises to help you feel your best, get rid of chronic pain, improve your posture, and more? Check out my ebook: Pain Free.