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3 Morning Moves to Release Tension & Create Space
October 4, 2021 • By Alissa Alter
I don’t need to tell you that postpartum and parenting do a number on your body. You probably feel that every day with the crick in your neck, the spasm in your shoulder, tightness in your lower back, and ache in your hips, knees, and feet.
After a long professional dance career, I’m no stranger to random aches and pains, but this? This is totally different. When I was dancing, that was my job! Taking care of my body was literally the number one through ten priority of my life!
Now, well, I’ve retired the pointe shoes and 3” heels in favor of high waisted undies and footwear I don’t need my hands to put on. Everything has been simplified, including the way I move my body.
Moving is so important when you feel like a tinman first thing in the morning. Or is that just me?
Moving the pieces around, checking in, getting joint fluid moving to provide lubrication, contracting and releasing muscles to promote circulation, and creating physical space so we can take those full breaths we need to get through the day.
So, what is the best way to move given all those aches and pains? Here are my three go-to moves to lube up my body so I start the day feeling a bit more like myself.
Marching in Place
Before starting, I take a moment and notice how I’m standing, a little check-in to see where I’m starting today. Am I bent forward? In a backbend? Over to the side? What is happening in my body? Once I know what I’m dealing with I…march in place. Picking up one knee and then the other.
I keep this movement simple and notice how my weight is shifting from side to side. Am I doing a lot of extra adjusting to make this happen? How can I streamline the movement to be as clear and efficient as possible?
Lastly, I pay attention to my feet and how they are taking off and landing on the floor. Am I rolling through my feet allowing all of the joints and muscles to get in on the fun? Is all of my weight in my toes? My heels? The outside of my feet? The inside?
This is not time to make judgements, it’s a time to check-in and move the pieces around.
This is legitimately my favorite thing. I do this every day. Multiple times. I used to do it on the subway platform while waiting for the train, and even ON the subway. The great thing about being in New York City is that I’m nearly 100% confident nothing I do in public will be the craziest thing anyone sees that day.
Here’s how to do it:
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel. Shift your weight forward toward your toes and the back to your heels a few times. Then settle in what feels like the middle of your foot.
Here’s the fun part; keeping your weight centered in your feet, dip your chin toward your chest and start rolling down bone by bone as if you were going to put your hands on the floor. Your hands do not need to touch the floor. I repeat, your hands do not need to touch the floor.
What does need to happen is your weight staying centered over your feet.
I like to think of my pelvis being over my ankle bones. This makes rolling down harder because you can’t counterbalance your torso with your butt (which wants to lean back behind your heels and make this easy). Nope! Keep your hips over your ankles and feel your hamstrings and abdominals participate as you actually stretch your spine.
Aaaaaaahhhhh. It feels good even just writing about it.
Standing Arm Circles
You guessed it, stand up. You can do this with your feet together, hip-width apart, or wider than your hips! Try different stances because why not!
Standing upright, with your vagina pointing straight down to the ground, inhale as you lift your arms forward and up. Exhale as you open your arms wide to the sides and down to where they started.
Repeat 5 times in each direction.
Keep your spine long, again– vagina pointing straight down, and your arms in front of your body. If your arms go behind you, it creates a different stretch (sometimes strain) on your shoulder joint. And we don’t need that. This is a great way to connect to your breath, lengthen the sides of your body, and lift your chest.
That’s it. You can do these as soon as you get out of bed, while you wait for your coffee to brew or tea to steep, or while you wait for the shower water to warm up. Yes, this is me encouraging you to shower daily too 😉 Am I pushing it?
I want you to know that feeling good in your body, taking care of yourself, and finding a #mamamoment don’t have to be complicated. There are so many ways to find micro-moments that are all about and for you.
Looking for more inspo? Here’s 10 ways to get a quick energy boost.
Let us know how it goes here!