Everyday stress can throw your entire system off kilter; your muscles tighten, your heart races, and your stomach starts acting up — again. A simple seated forward bend can activate a reserve of sustaining energy that, according to Chinese medicine, rests between the kidneys. “It calms the nervous system, gets the organs fully functioning, and clears up obstructions in the kidneys and adrenal glands,” explains Daniel Max, nutrition counselor, shiatsu practitioner, and yoga instructor with Max Sense of Self in Watertown, Massachusetts. Get your qi back in no time with this quick stretch.
What It Does
Calms the mind; relieves stress; stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and back; stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands; improves digestion; and reduces fatigue.
How to Do It
1. Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you, feet parallel with toes pointing up. Press the back of your legs into the floor.
2. Inhale deeply and lift through the upper body. With your spine straight and shoulders back, pull the navel in slightly toward the spine, creating space in the abdomen. Exhale, release, and lean forward, bending from the hip, not the waist.
3. Fold forward only as far as you can (keep your knees bent if that’s more comfortable). With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso slightly; if you feel able to go further, release a little more fully into the bend on an exhale. Try not to crunch; maintain length through the spine.
4. Hold for a few breaths, allowing your body to open up. Direct your breath toward the kidneys, breathing deep into the lower back. Then inhale and sit up slowly, lifting your torso away from the thighs until your back is straight. Repeat 2 to 3 times. Set your Zen Timer for 20 minutes and continue until the chime sounds.
Use our unique “Zen Clock” which functions as a Yoga Timer. It features a long-resonating acoustic chime that brings your meditation or yoga session to a gradual close, preserving the environment of stillness while also acting as an effective time signal. Our Yoga Timer & Clock can be programmed to chime at the end of the meditation or yoga session or periodically throughout the session as a kind of sonic yantra. The beauty and functionality of the Zen Clock/Timer makes it a meditation tool that can actually help you “make time” for meditation in your life. Bring yourself back to balance.
The Only Singing Bowl Yoga Timer and Alarm Clock
adapted from Body + Soul Magazine, April 2008
Now & Zen’s Singing Bowl Yoga Timer Store
1638 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302