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The Wren

Filtering by Tag: Yoga

5 Great After Work Yoga Poses by Lauren Conrad

Renee Woodruff

Long day at work? Try these awesome yoga poses by Lauren Conrad to release a little tension and to give your body the love it deserves. And PS - if you aren't a familiar with her site, it's a good one to bookmark and reference often!

Downward Dog
If you are a regular yogi, you know that downward dog is the foundational pose of most yoga flows. It’s home base. And it’s also the best move you can do after sitting all day. It stretches your shoulders, lengthens your back, and gets blood flowing to your brain. Simply make your body into an inverted “V” shape, and push your hands into the floor to stretch your legs and back.

Mountain Pose
This pose may seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how much good it can do for those sitting joints. Stand comfortably with your feet hips-width apart and reach your arms to the sky. Then move your torso backwards into a slight backbend and let your neck and head relax. You should feel a lengthening in your legs and an opening in your chest muscles.

Forward Fold
One of the best poses for stress and anxiety, forward bend is a position you should be implementing into your everyday routine. And the best part is that you can do it anywhere (even on your lunch break!). According to Huffington Post, this post provides a feeling of release in your body and mind, allowing you to let go of anything hectic that’s going on at work. Stand with your feet hips-width apart, bend your kneed slightly, and fold your hips down to the ground. Let your arms and neck hang for at least one minute for a full release.

Cobra Pose
This back bend not only feels good after sitting all day, it also lengthens your spine and opens up your chest and shoulders. Lay on the ground with your arms bent and place your hands directly under you shoulders, as though you’re about to do a push up. Then gently straighten your arms, bringing your chest up off the ground. If this feels comfortable, you can eventually graduate onto an Upward Dog pose, where you lift up your thigh and hips as well.

Butterfly Pose
Good old fashioned “criss cross applesauce” is actually an incredible yoga pose that opens up your hips and lower body. It’s a great way to ease any tightness you may feel from sitting for a long time. Sit on your hip bones with your back straight and your knees out to either side. Focus on melting your knees lower to the ground, gently, to really give your hips a stretch.

5 Tips to a Better Night of Sleep

Renee Woodruff

You've probably read hundreds of articles dedicated to the subject of sleep. Since we spend a huge chunk of our lives in a horizontal position, it rightfully deserves a lot of conversation. For reasons that have affected my family growing up, I'm addicted to feeling well rested -- so much so, that I've dedicated an entire section on my website to products that I've found help me "sleep like a baby."

Here are the top 5 recommendations that I would make to someone that is looking for a good night of sleep:

1. Exercise. Mental exhaustion is not the same as physical exhaustion. Do something active every single day even if it is just 25 squats and 25 push ups in the morning before going to work. Get a FitBit and make it a goal to hit 10,000 steps. Do yoga. Take a class at your gym. Go running with a buddy outside. Just do something to help wear your body down so that it is ready for sleep.

2. Don't Eat Too Late. Every time I have a late dinner and then try to fall asleep I'm just setting myself up for disaster. Try to eat dinner on the earlier side so that your body isn't working harder than it needs to when it comes time to get rest. In addition, it's good to give your digestive system a break. If you eat before 8pm and don't eat breakfast until 8am, you're giving your belly the much needed rest it deserves.

3. Shut Down ALL Screens. Don't expect to be able to fall asleep immediately after sending a text or getting those last minute emails done or, for that matter, while watching TV in bed (the worst!). Go old school and read a book in bed for at least fifteen minutes prior to sleep, preferably fiction to give your brain a chance to stop thinking about everything that happened that day or all of the things you need to accomplish tomorrow.

4. Pamper Yourself. Take a salt bath or a long shower. Deep condition your hair. Exfoliate. Shave. Oil yourself with coconut or sesame oil afterwards. And use lavender oil just before getting into bed to calm your nervous system. 

5. Meditate. If all else fails and you find you are having two or three inconsistent nights of sleep, consider adding a regular meditation practice into your routine. My next post will provide some tips on this as it deserves more discussion than just a paragraph. I've found this to be extremely beneficial in getting some serious shut-eye.

 

3 Yoga Books Worth Reading

Renee Woodruff

Throughout the yoga training, we've been introduced to so many new wonderful books. There was one required text and several suggested texts for all participants:

Required Text:
“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” translation by Edwin F. Bryant *

Suggested Texts:
“Bhagavad Gita” translation by Winthrop Sargeant
“The Hatha Yoga Pradipika” translation by the Bihar School
“Light on Yoga” by B.K.S Iyengar
“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff
“Key Poses of Yoga” by Ray Long

There were a few other books that were either mentioned during lectures, recommended by fellow yogis or introduced through our required book report presentations.

If you are a teacher-in-training or a yoga practitioner looking to deepen your knowledge, I suggest investing in a copy of each. Not only have I enjoyed reading them, but they’ve helped me tremendously throughout the training.

Light on Yoga

Light on Yoga was first introduced to me by one of my bestest friends, Kelly (who you'll be hearing more about on this blog)Written by the founder of Iyengar Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, this book is referred to as "The Bible of Modern Yoga." It includes more than 600 photographs of various postures and breathing exercises. And my favorite part...it provides the benefits of incorporating them into your practice. 

 

Eastern Body, Western Mind

Eastern Body, Western Mind was introduced during our lecture on Chakras. Each chapter focuses on a single Chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics and identity issues. (I nerd out on this type of stuff, so this book holds a permanent spot on my night stand.)

 

Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti Yoga was given to me by my yogi friend, Jessie. When she heard I was considering enrolling in the teacher training, she let me borrow her copy, and then told me to keep it. I'm glad she did because I destroyed it by underlining, highlighting and flagging so many pages. It's a great book that I’ve referenced and read from multiple times during our training.

 

All books can be found in the Words of Wisdom Shop.