Are you trying to find a way to relax before your First Day? Check out this sample of Gypsy Yoga to ease your First Day Nerves.
Hi Gypsies! I’m writing this on a flight from London to Gothenburg. I am in near panic mode post take off. I have a bit of flying anxiety (take off) and rely on my breath (among other things) to keep me calm. It is a similar feeling to the healthy stress one feels on the first day of a new assignment. Each time we start a new assignment, we walk into the unknown. Will it be a good fit? Will the staff be friendly, helpful? What will the docs be like? What will the policies be like?
I was drawn to yoga over 15 years ago while in the trenches of nursing school. I am by nature a fairly hyper person. Yoga keeps me grounded. It has helped me stay balanced and it begins with the breath. I hope some of you can benefit as well.
The breath has a profound effect on our well being. Every time we inhale we fill the lungs with oxygen rich air that circulates throughout the body. With every exhale we rid the body of carbon dioxide. A deep, even breath washes the autonomic nervous system with calm. Most of us don’t even use close to our potential long capacity. Have you ever noticed the changes that occur in your breath when you are stressed versus calm and relaxed?
What is Yoga and Who Can Practice?
Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophical practice of breath and postures dating back to as early as 5000 B.C. to 300 A.D. In whatever form it is found, yoga has at it’s center the breath as the guide. Yoga is for everyone. There are no prerequisites to practice. It is not a religious practice. According to BKS Iyengar (Guruji), yoga is “a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.” It’s a moving meditation that’s goal is to relieve the mind of it’s internal chatter and thus suffering.
We will practice one pose in our first ever Gypsy Yoga practice. It is a pose enjoyed by those new to yoga and those with years of practice under their belt. It is typically practiced at the end of any traditional hatha yoga class, although I sometimes start and end my classes with it when I teach. While this pose is safe, if you have any medical condition that you are unsure could be affected by practicing, talk with your physician before practicing. I will give modifications as we delve deeper into future posts.
What you Need
All you need is a small space to practice. I have unrolled my mat in many a hotel room. As you can see from the photos, I practice in my living room 🙂 You will need a yoga mat, beach towel, or blanket, and a small, rolled hand towel. Wear loose fitting pants and a tshirt. Pajamas work too. Dim the lights or use natural light from a window.
One Pose: Savasana (Corpse Pose)
We begin with one simple, but powerful pose. This pose is sometimes considered even more challenging than a more advanced pose like standing on one’s head (Sirsasana) because it insists the student be still and relax. Let’s give it a try. Lie down on your mat, beach towel, or blanket. You can place a small rolled hand towel under your neck (optional) to maintain the natural curve in your neck. If you have any discomfort in your low back, place a rolled blanket or a pillow under your knees. Draw your shoulder blades in and down your back. Soften your shoulders down and away from your ears. Broaden across your collar bones. Soften your jaw, soften the muscles in your neck. Stretch your arms out alongside your body, palms facing up. The upper arms should rotate externally. Stretch your legs long along your mat and allow your ankles to fall naturally to the side.
Close your eyes. Begin to bring your awareness to your breath. Observe your breath. Is it short and choppy or is it even and smooth? Smooth, even breath is the goal. Begin inhaling and exhaling deeply through your nose. Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four. Repeat this 10-20 times. As you focus all your awareness on the breath, allow those first day jitters to just pass you by. Can you let go of any expectations of your new assignment, let go of any negative reviews you may have read, let go of expectations of yourself? All will be exactly as it should. Can you be present in this very moment with only your breath as a guide? Continue breathing in and out of the nose now, trying to lengthen each inhale and exhale.
Try to stay at least 2-3 minutes in this pose, ideally longer. Practice just before heading out the door on your first day. It is a simple pose, but when done with commitment and intention can have a profound effect on your day. This pose can relieve headache, insomnia, depression, and helps lower the blood pressure.
From Savasana, draw your knees into your chest, rolling to your right side in a fetal position. Take a few more deep breaths From here, press yourself slowly up to a comfortable seat. Bring your hands together to your forehead in honor of right thoughts, to your lips in honor of right speech, and to your heart in honor of right intention.
Stay tuned for future Gypsy Road Trip Yoga posts! Best of luck on your first day!!! Namaste!!