Movement of the body is an amazing catalyst for energetic shifts that can transform our mindset and our lives. As a high achieving woman, it’s easy to get sucked into the notion that exercise must be high intensity and peppered with personal bests to be effective. If you’re not burning 800 calories in that spin class or writing personal bests in chalk on the wall at the CrossFit gym or even achieving that effortless golden glisten next to the woman with the perfectly toned tummy and the latest lululemon tights, then you’re not doing it right. It doesn’t have to be this way. Movement of our physical bodies can be prescribed to match and uplift the energy of our subtle bodies – with enormous benefits, both physical and mental.
Here we highlight five movement practices that can easily be weaved into a busy schedule, whether you have 5 minutes or 55 minutes. Incorporating any of the below movement practices into your day can have a tremendous impact on your wellbeing and can offer that shift of energy you’ve been looking for.
Yoga practice has an almost overwhelming range of styles to choose from. But yoga in any form works on a structural, energetic, and emotional level to tap into the deeper energy stored within ourselves and to connect us to ‘source’ or ‘prana’ a greater universal energy or life force. This ancient practice of energy healing has taken off all over the world, so there is sure to be a studio offering classes near you. There’s also an abundance of free resources online.
If you’re new to the practice, start with a beginner’s class or a gentle flow class to get a foundation for the asanas or the physical poses. Classes online can vary in time, can focus on a range of themes and can cater to a variety of abilities- flexibility really has nothing to do with yoga! Finding a class that also incorporates the foundations of the practice’s ancient teachings, is a beautiful way to align with a modality of energy healing that has been around for centuries.
If you’re looking for a physical challenge, this is it… but it’s not the kind of challenge you would expect. In yin, the movement is coming from the slow stretch that’s happening deep in the body’s tissues or fascia invisible to the naked eye. Unlike a flow or vinyasa style yoga class, yin offers a chance for the body to be held in a pose for 3-7 minutes giving you the chance to rest, meditate and look within while the connective tissues in the body experience a deep stretch that’s designed to release stress and melt away tension. If you’re looking to slow down and fill your cup, this practice is for you.
‘Prana’ is said to be the universal life force and ‘ayama’ means to regulate or lengthen. Prana is the vital energy we need by our physical bodies and our subtle bodies to survive. The practice of harnessing this lifeforce can be done through powerful breath work practices which help calm the mind. There are a variety of pranayama practices that can be introduced as a daily ritual to help balance our fluctuating energies. Sama Vritti Pranayama or Box Breathing can be done anywhere. Get comfortable and close your eyes. Take a breath in for four counts, retain the breath for four counts and breathe out for four counts. Repeat for however long you need.
With a focus on the core and alignment of the body, Pilates can be an amazing movement practice that brings together a true mind body connection. Using core-based exercises that help build control of the spine while creating mobility through the rest of the body, Pilates isn’t just for those rehabbing an injury (although great for that too!). Pilates really is for everybody and is a great option for those looking for a movement practice where progress can be felt and tracked- ie. Bye bye to that nagging niggle in your upper back, hello peachy glutes!
Human beings have an innate and genetically determined affinity with the natural world. Harvard biologist Ed Wilson calls this ‘biophilia.’ Research into biophilia has taken off in recent years proving that biophilic design (bringing natural elements into our living and work spaces) supports cognitive function, physical health, and psychological wellbeing. Intentional, mindful walks in nature give us a chance to reset, bring awareness into our bodies and tune into the present moment. Whether you live with nature at your finger-tips or within a bustling city centre, nature can always be found. Head outdoors and simply start to notice the natural elements around you and pick up on all its magnificent details. Rather than focusing on the outcome (‘I must hit 10,000 steps!’ or ‘I need to burn at least 300 calories, or this isn’t worth my time’) let the journey be your destination. How many trees did you pass, what type of flower was growing in your neighbour’s garden, what kinds of shapes are the clouds making today- see where the eye is drawn to and bask in nature’s abundant offerings.