Any and every yogi is familiar with the name Mandy Ingber. After all, this is the woman responsible for helping People‘s most beautiful person, Jennifer Aniston, find inner focus (and for helping to create her seriously amazing body).
Now, The New York Times-bestselling author has released a new book, Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy, which builds on the concepts in her New York Times best-selling book Yogalosophy—an inspiring self-care program to uplift and strengthen the alignment of mind, body, heart, and spirit during times of adversity like loss, transition, grief, or heartbreak.
Here, the fitness and wellness instructor to the stars, is sharing some personal tips with Haute Living.
These 7 postures can help you to cultivate the inner strength you need to help you through times of transition, grief and anxiety. Although there is a lot of buzz about the mind-body connection, what sometime gets lost is that the emotions and physical body are directly linked. Just as I see my emotions manifested in my body through illness or injury, I find that I when I put my body in to action I can shift my moods. Here are the postures that will get you strong inside and out.
CHILD’S POSE Begin in Child’s Pose. This forward bend is a deep bow and allows a feeling of vulnerability. Surrender to your feelings. Surrender to your circumstance and develop the trust of a child. You will be supported and taken care of. Kneel and bow down. Toes together, knees apart, hips at your heels and arms extended out before you with palms flat on the mat. Allow the weight of your body to sink down. Feel supported by the ground underneath you. Breathe deeply in and out of your nose for up to a minute. Forward bends relax the nervous system, so if you are anxious, this will calm you.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG From child’s pose, tuck your toes and press your palms into the mat as you raise your hips. Straighten your legs if you can. Use the leverage of your palms to press your chest toward your thighs. Aim your sit bones up to the sky. Hold this pose for 6 breaths. Downward facing dog is an inversion, as it allows the blood flow to reverse. This brings all the blood and nutrients to your brain. Ultimately this pose becomes an active resting pose.
CHAIR POSE with SQUATS + BONUS YOGALOSOPHY MOVE *** add weights for CHAIR + CHEST PRESS / SQUATS + OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESSChair Pose: With feet together or hip-width apart, extend your arms by your ears, palms facing inward, as you lower your hips down into an imaginary chair. Shift your body weight back toward your heels. Extend your chest upward. Squats: Parallel your feet wider than hip-width. Lower your butt back and down to squat, then squeeze your glutes and inner thighs to lift up as you straighten your legs. Do 8 reps, then pulse for 8. Chair Pose + Chest Press: Come to Chair Pose with your weights lightly placed in your palms. Raise your arms in an “L” shape in front of your face at shoulder height and then fan them open, keeping a 90° bend at the elbow so that the elbows are shoulder height. Hold Chair, open your arms and close them together, and bring the forearms, wrists, and elbows together all while maintaining a 90° angle. Repeat 8 times. Squats + Overhead Shoulder Press: Separate your feet hip-width apart, elbows in a 90° angle at the level of your shoulders. As you Squat, press your arms up overhead; as you stand up, bring your elbows back to shoulder level. As you squat back down, extend your arms. Repeat 8 times.
DANCER’S POSE Come to standing. Fix your gaze forward on a still point. Shift your weight on to your left leg, bend your right knee and reach for the inside of your insole with your right palm. Extend your left arm up by the side of your left ear. As you shift to reach forward, fix your gaze. Press the top of your right foot in to your right hand. Balance on your standing straight left leg. Breathe 6 deep breaths, and as you are ready, rise with control. Repeat on side two. Balance postures bring you into the present moment. When you cultivate presence by fixing your gaze and focusing on your breath, you will find that yourself in a meditative state. Balance postures are challenging and cause us to be completely present in the body, as well as help us develop the observer part of our nature. When the gaze is still, the mind is still. When the mind is still, the emotions level out. Use your breathing to feel that strength.
CAMEL with ONE ARM Kneel at the top of your mat with your feet hip-width apart and toes tucked under. Place hands on your lower back for support. Hug your elbows in and shrug your shoulders back. Aim your tailbone down toward your heels. Firm your thighs and reach back for your right heel with your right hand as you reach up and over your head with your left arm. Open up your chest and gaze at your fingertips. Take 5 long breaths; with each exhale, relax a little more deeply. To rise from the pose, firm your thighs and reach your left arm up and forward, following your fingertips with your gaze. Before switching sides, pause in Child’s Pose to balance out the spine with a forward fold. Come back onto your knees to set yourself up for the other side. Back bends are heart openers and are energizers. They lift your spirits and serve to boost your mood. You literally create more space in the chest cavity for your heart and open up the lungs, allowing you to breathe more fully and increase your lung capacity. Try a back bend when you are feeling low or moody.
RECLINING TWIST Come to a supine position, draw your right knee in to your chest, and extend your left leg along the floor. Extend your right arm out in line with your shoulder with the palm facing up and shift your hips slightly to the right. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and inhale deeply. As you exhale drop the right knee over to the left and turn your head to the right. Try to keep both shoulder blades on the mat as you breathe here. Hold and breathe for 3 minutes and then repeat on the other side.Twists aid in detoxification and digestion. Since the gut is called the second brain, twists can help to clear the mind and will reduce worry and anxiety. This pose also aids the digestive system.
EASY POSE Sit in an easy cross-legged position. Take a moment to close your eyes and place your hands on your heart and have a moment of gratitude for your body. Think of one thing you love about your body. Gratitude expands your happiness. Happiness is 40 percent intentional. When you shift your mind, you change how you feel. This meditation preparation will help you to create a reserve of inner peace.