Meditation techniques and Yoga poses to help manifest positivity and gratitude by Jordan Ashley, yogi and founder of Souljourn Yoga
With socialisation, fresh air, and access to gym classes seeming like a distant memory, having tools to keep you healthy is vital not only for your physical well-being but mental and emotional self.
Now is a great opportunity to maintain (or start) a home movement and meditation practice to help you “stay on the bright side” as tools offer outlets for self-expression.
The way we live is a result of how we think. We literally have the power to manifest positivity and happiness by having positive and happy thoughts. I see words as the seasonings and spices we put into our lives.
If we want sweet food, we use certain ingredients. If you want to have a positive day, we need to use certain words and put them out into the universe.
A few exercises I like to do to practice positivity and gratitude are:
Choose 3 positive words that describe the way you want to feel. Write them down and repeat them in your mind any time you find yourself having a difficult time.
Choose 1-3 things you are grateful for. Write them down and remember these throughout your day. Make it a point to say “thank you” multiple times a day.
Choose 1-3 phrases that you need to tell yourself. (i.e. “I am strong”)
Write these phrases down and repeat them throughout your day.
Twisting is a great way to release any tension or stress that has built up in your gut, hips, neck, and shoulders. Doing this pose on the floor provides great support for the whole body to release. In yoga, supine twists often come at the end, after you’ve put in all of that hard work and are beginning to cool down.
For me, supine twists are always a time of reflection and gratitude, as I can look back on my day feeling accomplished or simply grateful for a healthy mind and body.
Open your arms in a “T” or cactus shape to open up the back
As the legs go to the right, head/neck looks to the left and vice versa. Try to close your eyes or soften your gaze.
Bridges or backbends can be really helpful to combat depression, as they act as a heart opener. Anything to open up the back body can create a sense of energy or lift. Also, if you are working from home and feel like your posture needs a little bit of a boost, a bridge can help to open up the shoulders and create length in the spine.
Have your feet inner, hip width distance apart and toes turning forward. Gently squeeze into your inner feet like you have a ball in between your knees. Keep your gaze up to the ceiling.
Keep your palms glued to the ground as you float your hips up. You can roll the spine up and down to create a flow or slide a block under your low back for a more restorative shape. Please do not roll the spine if any support is under the back.
Exploring your balance can not only be a great distraction in terms of where you are guiding your focus and energy, but is also stabilising. Tree is one of my favourite shapes as it exudes feelings of strength and energy. Stand on one leg. Press evenly door to thigh and thigh to foot. Or foot to ankle/ankle to shin.
Tuck your tailbone under. Close your ribs together and find your belly-to-spine connection. Imagine that your standing leg consists of your roots, while your arms are branches. You can ground down through your foot as you stretch your arms up to the sky. If you want to challenge yourself, try closing your eyes.
Tapping into your abdominal muscles can be quite invigorating and also beneficial for keeping your spine healthy. Building up some heat is never a bad thing while also testing your balancing skills.
Sitting on the ground with your feet planted, lift your right leg up to a table top shape and then the left. Try to lean into the waistband of your pants to really connect with your lower belly. Reach your arms either forward or towards your ears to make it harder or stretch your legs straight at a 45 degree angle to make it even more challenging.