It is easy to incorporate curative movements in your daily activities that are wonderfully beneficial for your mind and body. Scheduling a fixed exercise time is something I find difficult. However, there are some simple but efficacious movements that keep you fit mentally and physically. Most importantly, they don’t take much time, are easy to do, and can be done anywhere. The key here is to repeat these movements during your day or at least twice a day to encode your body memory with these actions for positive benefits.
My six favorite and most critical movements for a total mind-body workout are:
1) Deep Squatting
Squatting comes naturally to children, they can sit for hours in that posture lost in play. However, modern life quickly makes us forget this natural pose as we get older. Squatting is more than an exercise, it is a natural motion of the human body. It is one the best ways to stretch our legs out from standing too long and gently elongates our spine.
Further squatting improves the mobility in the hips, knees, and ankles. It is one of the best positions to practice for pregnant women as it gives a good stretch to the pelvic area and makes it flexible for childbirth. It definitely helped me have a normal delivery despite my back condition. Squatting improves your body’s excretory system, which translates into better health.
You can do this pose while doing your daily chores, like washing, cutting vegetables.
Crawling is another primal motion that sets the stage for all future movement. Crawling is a full body workout. It uses nearly all the muscles of the body without putting unnecessary stress on any particular muscle group. It improves spinal flexibility, increases shoulder strength and hip fluidity. This helps develops our core, I find it better than planks. A stronger core means improved reflexive strength. Our ability to respond to challenges effortlessly and quickly automatically improves our self-esteem
For adults crawling acts like a reset button When under stress, we are unable to process our emotions because we end up being stuck in our emotional right brain. Our left brain is locked out. In order to clear our mind, we need to reset the connection between the two hemispheres. What better way than crawling. It reprograms our nervous system, enhances focus and attention and calms us.
3) Body Inversion/ Upside down
Inverting the body reverses the harmful effects of gravity, doing it is one of most effective treatments for back issues, load-bearing joint issues, improving the nervous system, reducing mental stress, defying the aging process, strengthening the immune system, detoxification and, improving the mind. Increasing blood flow nourishes brain cells with more oxygen resulting in improved concentration, memory and awareness. Inversions can stimulate the facial capillaries, which may help keep your skin youthful.
You don’t need to do the actual Sirsana (headstand) Upside down with support has worked fine for me.
Spinning is one of the five Tibetan rite exercises that supposedly counteract the aging process. Children naturally spin while playing. As one spins clockwise, negative residues are flung out of the body and the bridge is strengthened between the left and right hemispheres. Spinning stimulates the body’s energy system and wakes up the chakras.
Spinning stimulates our vestibular systems that provides information through the inner ear that tells us about our head position and how (or if) we are moving. Your understanding of movement and balance helps you coordinate the movement of your head with your eyes, enables you to use both sides of your body at the same time, tells you which direction you’re going and how fast, and enables you to remain upright. The vestibular system is your body’s internal GPS.
5) Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is a restorative yoga posture. It stretches the muscles of the spine, massages the internal organs, aiding digestion and elimination. The pose helps detoxification of the lymph nodes in the groin, giving a boost to the immune system. This posture facilitates diaphragmatic breathing which promotes relaxation. This pose is an essential pose in Yin Yoga, a more meditative form of yoga. Yin yoga aims at cultivating awareness of inner silence and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality.
You can do this while reading, watching television or while on the computer.
A word of caution, the sphinx pose should be avoided during pregnancy.
6) Child Pose
The Child’s pose is simple and a deeply relaxing pose. As a child, I remember going into this pose when I’d get angry, after some time in this pose one feels the negative emotions have drained away. This is a beginner yoga pose that stretches the muscles of the low back, as well as the inner thighs. It promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks of the back.
Moreover, this relaxing pose centers calms and soothes the brain, thus one of the best and easiest way to relieve stress. When performed with the head and torso supported, it can also help relieve back and neck pain. Child’s Pose restores balance and equanimity to the body.
So what are you waiting for to get fit? Just get into these positions/movements daily and see the results. Seriously, it is easy to incorporate fitness into your daily routine. You definitely don’t need to go to a yoga class or the gym.