EH
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ROOTS

Ellen Humphreys is an actress, freelance content producer and micro-influencer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Born and raised in Oklahoma, trained in Boston + refined in Los Angeles, she’s chosen the high desert as her home base to build a career as a creatrix, thinker + writer. A devoted stewardess of the Earth and the life around her.

ROOTS is an everyday resource for a mindful + beautiful life, built on the values of integrity, responsibility, practicality, and authenticity.

3 Gentle Yoga Poses You Can Do Anywhere (Really.)

They may get you (at worst) some weird looks, but these office/subway/waiting-for-the-microwave-friendly yoga poses are the cure to your workday blues (and anxiety… and stress… and malaise… and exhaustion). You don’t even have to get out of your chair.

1)  Anuloma Viloma   This balancing breath exercise is used to  harmonize the entire nervous system  and  equalize the activity of the left and right hemispheres of the brain . Put your finger under your nose to feel that one nostril is usually breathing more air in and out than the other. The Yogis of ancient times observed that when we can breathe more freely through the right nostril, the left hemisphere of our brain is more active; conversely, when the left nostril is more open, the right hemisphere is more active.    Expect : productivity to rise, distractions to still and bad vibes to fall away.   T  o practice : Begin seated with the body in balance — if you’re sitting in a chair, uncross your legs and let your feet rest entirely on the ground. Let your left hand rest on your thigh, and with the right hand make the  Vishnu Mudra . Exhale completely. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril, and inhale deeply for 4 counts. Close both nostrils and retain the breath for 16 counts. Release the left nostril and exhale for 8 counts. Inhale through the same left nostril for 4 counts, retain for 16, exhale through the right nostril for 8, inhale through the right nostril for 4, and on until you’ve completed at least four rounds on each side. If you find yourself panicking or feeling short of breath, reduce the counts to 4, 4, and 4. You can always increase the counts later on when you’ve become accustomed to the exercise.   TL; DR : Oh, you’re confused and you hate this? Try sitting balanced in your chair (uncross your legs and place both feet solidly on the floor), closing your eyes, and taking big breaths. Inhale deeply for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts. You’re killing it, boo.

1) Anuloma Viloma

This balancing breath exercise is used to harmonize the entire nervous system and equalize the activity of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Put your finger under your nose to feel that one nostril is usually breathing more air in and out than the other. The Yogis of ancient times observed that when we can breathe more freely through the right nostril, the left hemisphere of our brain is more active; conversely, when the left nostril is more open, the right hemisphere is more active. 

Expect: productivity to rise, distractions to still and bad vibes to fall away.

To practice: Begin seated with the body in balance — if you’re sitting in a chair, uncross your legs and let your feet rest entirely on the ground. Let your left hand rest on your thigh, and with the right hand make the Vishnu Mudra. Exhale completely. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril, and inhale deeply for 4 counts. Close both nostrils and retain the breath for 16 counts. Release the left nostril and exhale for 8 counts. Inhale through the same left nostril for 4 counts, retain for 16, exhale through the right nostril for 8, inhale through the right nostril for 4, and on until you’ve completed at least four rounds on each side. If you find yourself panicking or feeling short of breath, reduce the counts to 4, 4, and 4. You can always increase the counts later on when you’ve become accustomed to the exercise.

TL; DR: Oh, you’re confused and you hate this? Try sitting balanced in your chair (uncross your legs and place both feet solidly on the floor), closing your eyes, and taking big breaths. Inhale deeply for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts. You’re killing it, boo.

2)  Cat/Cow   This simple stretch is one of the simplest ways toward a flexible spine. The Yogis claimed that if you maintain the spine’s flexibility and health through proper exercise,  blood circulation is intensified , the  nerves are supplied with nutrients  and oxygen and  the body holds on to its youthful condition . As the old Chinese proverb says, “Truly, a flexible back makes for a long life.”   Expect : relaxed shoulders, a feeling of warmth + open-heartedness, and maybe (just mayyyyybe) to pop your back. Mine always does, and it feels  amazing .   To Practice :   Sit balanced, both feet on the floor. Sit up straight (imagine someone gently tugging at a string attached to the very crown of your head). Place your hands on your knees, and while breathing in, press your heart through your arms, look up, and let your whole spine bend gently back. Exhale while pressing your heart behind you, look at your navel and bend gently forward. Repeat x10 or as many times as you please.   TL; DR : Do the wave with your spine. Breathe in when you bend back, breathe out when you bend forward.

2) Cat/Cow

This simple stretch is one of the simplest ways toward a flexible spine. The Yogis claimed that if you maintain the spine’s flexibility and health through proper exercise, blood circulation is intensified, the nerves are supplied with nutrients and oxygen and the body holds on to its youthful condition. As the old Chinese proverb says, “Truly, a flexible back makes for a long life.”

Expect: relaxed shoulders, a feeling of warmth + open-heartedness, and maybe (just mayyyyybe) to pop your back. Mine always does, and it feels amazing.

To Practice: Sit balanced, both feet on the floor. Sit up straight (imagine someone gently tugging at a string attached to the very crown of your head). Place your hands on your knees, and while breathing in, press your heart through your arms, look up, and let your whole spine bend gently back. Exhale while pressing your heart behind you, look at your navel and bend gently forward. Repeat x10 or as many times as you please.

TL; DR: Do the wave with your spine. Breathe in when you bend back, breathe out when you bend forward.

3)  Auto-Suggestion   Perhaps the greatest do-anywhere trick I keep in my back pocket wouldn’t be very Instagrammable — to an outsider, you look like you’re literally doing  nothing . But here’s the thing: we’ve gotten used to a constant state of tension and stress. You probably already know that chronic stress puts you at risk for a myriad of ailments: from depression to digestive problems to heart disease to weight gain to memory impairment. And I’m getting this info from  the Mayo fucking Clinic.  The key to limiting stress is to figure out how to truly relax, and this 2-minute exercise (that you can literally do sitting on the train) brings the body to conscious relaxatio   Expect : stress to melt away and more zip than a power nap.   To Practice : If you’re not able to lie face-up on the floor, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor and your back supported. Close your eyes and breathe deeply — try to quiet your mind and focus on the sensations of your body. Move, stretch, itch away any discomfort, and then find stillness after a few breaths. Bring your focus to your feet and repeat silently in your mind: “I am relaxing my feet. My feet are relaxing. My feet are completely relaxed.” Move up to the legs, the pelvis, the arms, all the way up to your head. Take as much time as you like — the more specific you get, the more relaxed you’ll be. When you’ve finished, take a few more breaths and then slowly bring some movement back to the body. You might feel a sensation I affectionately call “Yoga Stoned” — a little woozy, happy + blissed-out. It will soon pass (or you can shake it off) and you’ll have more energy and focus than that latte would have provided, for sure.   TL; DR:  Close your eyes and scan your whole body from toe to head, repeating “I am relaxing *insert body part*, my *body part* is relaxing, my *body part* is completely relaxed”. Get  yoga stoned . Feel good.

3) Auto-Suggestion

Perhaps the greatest do-anywhere trick I keep in my back pocket wouldn’t be very Instagrammable — to an outsider, you look like you’re literally doing nothing. But here’s the thing: we’ve gotten used to a constant state of tension and stress. You probably already know that chronic stress puts you at risk for a myriad of ailments: from depression to digestive problems to heart disease to weight gain to memory impairment. And I’m getting this info from the Mayo fucking Clinic. The key to limiting stress is to figure out how to truly relax, and this 2-minute exercise (that you can literally do sitting on the train) brings the body to conscious relaxatio

Expect: stress to melt away and more zip than a power nap.

To Practice: If you’re not able to lie face-up on the floor, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor and your back supported. Close your eyes and breathe deeply — try to quiet your mind and focus on the sensations of your body. Move, stretch, itch away any discomfort, and then find stillness after a few breaths. Bring your focus to your feet and repeat silently in your mind: “I am relaxing my feet. My feet are relaxing. My feet are completely relaxed.” Move up to the legs, the pelvis, the arms, all the way up to your head. Take as much time as you like — the more specific you get, the more relaxed you’ll be. When you’ve finished, take a few more breaths and then slowly bring some movement back to the body. You might feel a sensation I affectionately call “Yoga Stoned” — a little woozy, happy + blissed-out. It will soon pass (or you can shake it off) and you’ll have more energy and focus than that latte would have provided, for sure.

TL; DR: Close your eyes and scan your whole body from toe to head, repeating “I am relaxing *insert body part*, my *body part* is relaxing, my *body part* is completely relaxed”. Get yoga stoned. Feel good.

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#yogastoned

Now that I think about it, nothing would make me happier than people’s Yoga Stoned selfies. Can we make this happen? Please?

Either way, do let me know if you find a use for any of these in your daily life. Or if you’re confused, or have a question, leave a comment, too. All I really care to do is share the things that work for me, in the hopes that they work for you.

 

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