LUX Wellness Week: Coffee Talk With Jamie Lugo
Our energy is high and our calendars are full so it is especially important to slow down and cool down whenever possible. Otherwise, summer will leave us feeling exhausted and wondering “Where did my summer go?” Here is a short little sequence I whipped up for you babes that will help your body and mind beat the heat this summer. Enjoy!
Moon salutations - Contrary to sun salutations that build heat and raise the heart rate, moon salutations are said to be cooling for the body while setting it into motion. There are many versions of the moon salutation but here is the simplest version I like to practice when I need to chill out.
HOW TO: Stand in tadasana at the front of your mat.
Inhale: hook thumbs, spread fingers, reach arms over head and arch back
Exhale: forward fold, sweep arms behind low back and over head, interlace fingers and drop the head.
Inhale: step left foot back, lower back knee, hook thumbs and spread fingers arch back.
Exhale: step right for back and lift hips to downward facing dog.
Inhale: step left foot forward, lower back knee, hook thumbs spread fingers and arch back.
Exhale: step right foot forward, fold over legs, sweep arms behind low back and over head, interlace fingers and drop the head.
REPEAT switch legs, interlacing of fingers and thumb hook to balance the right and left side of the body. Repeat on both sides as many times as you’d like.
Warrior 1 into Humble Warrior - Warrior 1 can be invigorating because it is both a standing pose and a back bend. But it is essential to ground the legs and feet and connect with the earth and open the heart before bowing to natures bounty. So I added a forward fold to balance out the energizing and heating nature of Warrior 1.
HOW TO: Start in down dog. Step right foot forward between hands, turn the back heel down so that the foot is at a 45 degree angle, keep the front knee bent so the knee is directly over the ankle, then lift torso and arms. Spread toes, ground the feet and lengthen waist into the reach of the arms. Breathe. Now keep the legs and feet exactly as they are and then bow forward on the inside of the right leg, interlace fingers behind the low back and lift arms up and over head. Breathe. Switch sides.
Bridge Pose - This pose is GREAT for opening the front of the hips, quads, chest and shoulders. It’s also a great way to open up the front body without over stimulating the nervous system. As you can see in the picture, the chin is dropped to the chest which creates a “chin lock” (jalandhara bandha). This “lock” acts like a valve at the top of the throat and has a cooling/quieting effect on the body and mind.
HOW TO: Lie down on your mat. Bend the knees and step on the feet. Place feet under the knees hip distance. Press into feet and lift hips. Gather the upper arm bones underneath torso and interlace fingers. Press feet and upper arms into the mat. Puff chest tothe chin but make sure knees don’t splay out wider than hips. Stay for 5 breaths.
Reclined leg stretch – If you’re anything like me in the summer you’re busy biking, hiking, running and enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible. Then when you sit down at the end of the day you realize how tired your legs are because they haven’t stopped moving! The calves and hamstrings keep us moving so a little “TLC” can get get us ready for another day.
HOW TO: Lie down and grab a strap, a belt or a blanket. Wrap the strap around the ball of the right foot and lift the leg perpendicular to the floor. Extend the bottom leg so that the legs create an “L shape”. Relax and stay for 10-15 breaths. Try not to tug on the strap. Instead, patiently wait for the back of the leg to release. Another great reason to do this pose is to promote circulation in the legs. It’s not very often that we have our legs up over our heart an in the air! When we do this the legs drain out excess and stagnant fluids. It’s like hitting the “reset” button for your lower limbs.
Virasana with Sithali breath – Just like lifting the legs into the air and above the heart can promote circulation, Virasana can clear out the legs by wringing them out like a sponge. Additionally, it is a great pose to sit in while doing breathing exercises. Sithali breath is a breathing technique designed to cool you down. Like a dog that sticks his tongue out to breathe when he gets overheated, we humans can do it too!
HOW TO: Sit with the legs folded underneath you. Bring the knees together and separate the feet a little than hip distance. Sit as high as you need to on a yoga block, blankets, pillows or anything you can find. If there is any strain in the knees or ankles- sit higher. Rest the hands on the thighs and sit up tall. Curl the tongue into a little taco and receive a breath in, after the inhalation, close the mouth, relax the tongue and exhale normally. If you cannot roll the tongue, just make an “O” with the lips like you are sipping out of a straw. Repeat 10-15 cycles of breath or for as long as you would like.
Plow Pose - This pose has so many benefits there are too many to list here on one page! Not only does this pose stretch the shoulders, legs, back muscles and calves but more importantly it is cooling for the nervous system. You literally, turn inward on yourself and quiet the commotion of the outside world.
HOW TO: Lie down and press hands and arms alongside torso into the floor. Bend knees into chest and kick feet up and over head, Tuck toes and find the floor with the balls of your feet. If your feet don’t touch the floor use a chair to place the feet on. Interlace the fingers as we did in bridge pose and press the upper arm bones into the mat. Gather the upper arms bones underneath the chest and lift front of the hips up. The back of the head and shoulders should be on the floor- NOT the neck. Stay for 5-10 breaths.
Savasana – AHHHHH THE BEST PART. Lie down and RELAX.
HOW TO: Lie down. Close the eyes. Let the palms flip up and rest the back of the hand on the floor a few inches away from the body. Let the fingers curl as they naturally do. Separate the legs about hips-width distance and allow the toes to flop out to the sides. Don’t move and stay awake. Scan the body with your minds eye from head to toe, letting go of any extraneous tension you may come across. Stay for 10 minutes.
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