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Rejuvenate with Sun Breaths

We just transitioned into fall, and while I do love summer like the best of them, I can’t think of anything more wholesome and grounding than a warm autumn afternoon with the sun on my face. As we welcome the changing seasons, today I want to encourage you to step outside and snag a breath (or ten) of fresh air, stretch your body, and take a few moments to be present in your surroundings --hopefully in some rays of sunshine wherever you are! It will give you a quick pick-me-up to get you back to what you were doing feeling more centered, refreshed, and alert. Read more here and here to know how and why this works. It's amazing!

In my own life, when I have only a few minutes to spare in between patients during my 10-hour work day and I need to push the Pause button, doing a few Sun Breaths is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to take a restorative Time-Out. Here’s the scoop:

Sun Breaths

Sun Breaths. Maybe you’ve heard of them when your girlfriend talks about the Sun Salutation series in her 6am yoga class. …..Or maybe you haven’t, and if not, just know that it’s a thing. Regardless of your level of familiarity, and whether you like yoga or not, this is a simple but effective breath and movement combination for everyone (and it's just one tiny portion of that whole Sun Salutation series). Let me break it down for you simply here.

The gist: You lift your arms out away from you and up over head, mimicking the rising sun. You will breathe in rhythm of your arm motion, so you get some good oxygen flowing as you get the blood flowing too. This can be done standing or seated at the edge of your chair.

Your breath: Inhale as your arms move up over head, breathing deep into your belly so that your ribs expand. Exhale all of the air out of your lungs as you lower your arms back down by your sides. (That is one complete breath.) Your head may rise up to look at your hands when you are at the top of the breath on the inhale if this feels comfortable to your neck.

Sun Breath: Begin with arms by your side, then inhale and sweep hands out at your sides and up over head. Your eyes may follow your hands if this feels comfortable to your neck.

How many: Perform ten breaths slowly and controlled. As you do this, see if you can let the day’s tasks fall away for a moment and just count your breaths and be present. Feel your arms stretch and your lungs fill with air, and listen to your surroundings.

Why I love them: You can literally do this anywhere you have the space of your wingspan around you. As mentioned above, this can be done seated or standing. You are encouraged to go outside, but if that’s not feasible you can do this at your desk at work or a break room.

Quick Tip: Activate finger tips and extend your wrists back as you perform these breaths. In doing so, you will feel an even greater stretch in your arms and hands for a nice bonus!

For a greater stretch in your forearm and hand, activate fingertips and extend your wrists while you perform the arm motion.

Take note: When you are finished with your 10 breaths, how do you feel? Any different than before breath number one? Make note of that. It’s important. It may be subtle but it’s there, and that’s the first step in keeping this motion momentum going.

As I hope this exercise shows, you don't have to run marathons or summit mountains to experience change. Sometimes it's just a little daily motion that can make all the difference in the world. Today, your change could start with just 10 mindful breaths. Enjoy!

*If you are interested in learning more techniques that help you feel better and improve your mobility, check out my Ebook!

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