Here we are. In the midwest. In the winter. In the ‘crash’ after the holidazzzzzzze. I’m over it and ready to become a snowbird. There has to be a retirement community in Scottsdale that will take me, right? I’m cold. Stuck inside. Surrounded by darkness, stillness, and germs.
How do we get through it smoothly? How do we keep our bodies and minds feeling good? How do we come out on the other side, AND possibly enjoy now?!
Lindsay Luker of Good Leaf Life shares her simple and accessible yoga and essential oil remedies with us.
Making Yoga Accessible.
According to Lindsay, you don’t have to put your foot behind your head or sit in a cave for ten years. Yoga is accessible to anyone who can say, “yes, I will take 15 minutes of my day for simple breathing, simple movement, and simple rest.”
You don’t need a fancy membership or video streaming service, just you and a quiet space.
Ok, I think I can do that.
She recommends finding a spot where you can be alone for a short time. Particularly where you cannot see the dishes by the sink or the socks on the floor.
Sit or lay down in a position that allows your spine to feel long and neutral. Close your eyes. Relax your face. Relax your scalp. Then relax your brain as if it were a muscle.
Feel that? Yoga!
I wrote about the importance of breathing just last week! Lindsay agrees that it’s key to making you feel good.
“Sama vritti” or same breath, she says. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and begin to breathe. Inhale for a count of 4-6 beats. Exhale for the same number of beats. Keep track by counting in your head or with your heartbeats. When the timer stops, breathe naturally. Take note of the immediate changes in your nervous system, in your body, in your mind. Notice if there has been a shift in you.
Feel that? Simple breathing!
This one is also easy but you might want to read through this first and then try these simple movements in your quiet space.
Come to all fours, on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers out and bring yourself back to your sama vritti breath.
Let your breath guide your movement. Inhale to slightly drop your belly. Tailbone points up behind you, aiming to where the wall meets the ceiling. Your collarbones open away from each other and your heart extends forward.
Gaze up slightly to where the wall meets the ceiling in front of you. Exhale to round your back and gently tuck your chin toward your chest. spread the space between your shoulder blades.
Repeat these movements several times, letting your breath bookend the movement. That means to be certain that your inhale and exhale is complete before you start the next movement.
This one might be my favorite but it also might be the hardest to actually do!
Lay on your back. SItuate your legs a bit wider than hip-width. Let your feet fall outward naturally. Your arms should lay alongside the body with your palms facing upward.
Now move your arms a bit away so there is space between your ribs and upper arms.
Lift your head and slightly tuck the chin to lengthen the back of your neck. Set your head back down.
Close your eyes and notice the spots where your body touches the earth. The warmth and support. notice the places where your body touches the air. Cool and free. Let the edges of your mind expand into the universe.
Feel that? Rest!
So you see, Yoga creates harmony between your body and mind. That harmony supports your spirit and allows you to enjoy more moments of life. Even maybe those unreasonable-kid moments and frustrated, are-we-really-shoveling-snow-again? moments. Here’s hoping, right!?
Making Essential Oils Accessible.
Don’t roll your eyes, Lindsay says, this is not voodoo! Essential oils are made up of the components found in plants and have been used since ancient times.
Lindsay taught me how essential oils can help mamas and their families feel their best without overwhelming them with more “stuff” to fill their medicine cabinet.
“Plants produce metabolites to survive the weather, viruses, and other environmental threats. As mammals, we respond to these metabolites and can use them to sustain a ‘feel-good life.'”
Build Your Immune System.
Lindsay’s “must-have” for warding off the yuckies this time of year is doTERRA’s On Guard blend. A combination of wild orange, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus, and cinnamon, it is exactly what you need to keep your immune system strong. Rub it on your spine, drink a few drops in a glass of water, use the soap, detergent, or try the cough drops.
Fight Off a Bug!
If you weren’t able to keep the bug away, don’t fear, there’s still hope for a quick recovery. Eucalyptus oil is a must.
Boil hot water and pour it in a bowl. Add 2 drops of oil and breathe in the steam for 30 seconds.
Lindsay’s second favorite is Breathe. Her recommendation is to diffuse this soothing blend throughout your home. It’s a combination of laurel leaf, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lemon, cardamom, ravintsara, ravensara essential oil.
You can also rub the oil onto your chest …don’t forget to use with a carrier like fractionated coconut oil (that’s the liquid kind you can pick up at a health food store or Amazon). This will open your breathing passageways and help to clear congestion. A secret trick? Lindsay says Breathe works well if your partner snores after a glass of whiskey!
Treat aching muscles.
If you started off the year with some intense exercise resolutions, essential oils can help you recover and get stronger! Lindsay’s favorite is doTERRA’s Deep Blue. It’s designed to bring relief to achy, stiff joints, and sore muscles.
Rest and relaxation.
You don’t have to tell a mom twice that rest and relaxation is essential the health of her body and mind. Even just a few hours lost one night can make for a miserable next day. Lindsay’s suggestions for optimizing your rest and relaxation are simple and quite soothing. Even my kids have gotten into diffusing oils at night in their rooms!
Her favorite choice? Serenity: Diffuse this warm and soothing blend (lavender, cedarwood, ho wood, ylang ylang, marjoram, roman chamomile, vetiver, vanilla, and Hawaiian sandalwood) overnight while you while sleep to help you stay that way!
Are you an essential oil user? Do you practice yoga? Do you want to? You don’t have to become an expert or yoga instructor to enjoy the benefits of yoga and essential oils for your health. These are easy ways to incorporate it into your winter routine and eventually maybe make it a part of your daily life.
Lindsay Luker has a 500-hour yoga instructor certification and is an essential oil specialist living in the West Suburbs of Chicago. She is available for one-on-one and small group classes for yoga, oils, or both. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Lindsay’s website!