• Alexa de los Reyes

When you've had it UP TO HERE

If my friends, family, and clients are any indication of a broader trend, and I suspect they are, it seems that right now a lot of people out there have had it UP TO HERE. They are simply FULL. Filled to the brim with stress, grief, tragedies, even catastrophes. Or with tedium, isolation, loneliness, and frustration. Or all of the above! And of course being full doesn’t mean more challenges won’t be added to the pile at any moment, it just means our inner resources might be maxed out.

One solution is to create some BREATHING ROOM in our energy bodies. It won't change the extreme weather patterns or contentious school policies or viral transmission rates, but it will help generate inner calm and clarity.

If you are currently AT CAPACITY, try some of these practices I've shared below.


Or, how to create space in your energy field so your mind doesn't keep buzzing in fruitless loops and you can think straight again. Try these in sequence or choose whichever feels good for you in the moment.

>> Always check in with your own body before starting a new practice, and don't do anything that doesn't feel right. Be aware that these exercises might release some emotions. Be compassionate with yourself and take it slowly. I am always happy to discuss and provide support.

The Woodchopper

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Inhale deeply and bring your arms up over your head, then clasp your hands and arch back slightly. With a big exhale, open the mouth wide and release a "HA!" sound while bringing your arms down quickly and powerfully, like swinging an axe. Exhale as deeply from your belly as you can. Do as many times as feels good.

Shoulder Shrugs

This exercise frees up stuck energy and tension across the shoulders, neck, and chest. I recommend doing it while seated with a straight spine. First, inhale through the nose while bringing your shoulders high up towards your ears, then exhale through the nose forcefully while dropping the shoulders down. Start slowly and then speed up, keeping your breath coordinated with the movement. When moving quickly focus on the exhale, as if you're pumping out air with your shoulders. Repeat for as long as is comfortable, then finish with a few slow deep breaths. Notice warmth seeping in, stress slipping away, and a fresh burst of energy.

Get off my Back!

Start with arms bent, elbows out, like you're about to do the Funky Chicken dance. Take one elbow at a time and jab it backwards, like you're trying to dislodge something from the center of your back. It's fun to do while saying "Get (jab) off (jab) my (jab) back (jab)!" Do one elbow at a time and then both together. This exercise is by Anodea Judith, who demonstrates it here.

Belly Laughs!

Laughing improves the immune response, increases endorphins, releases stress, and has many other physical and emotional benefits. I wrote about how to "fake it til you make it" with laughter yoga and shared a few funny clips my family enjoys. And here's one of our all-time favorite stand-up clips (for the 10+ crowd I would say).

Ujayi (Ocean Sounding) Breath

Ujjayi breath is a form of yogic breathing with mouth closed and a slightly restricted throat, so the breath sounds like wind, or the ocean, or kind of like a sleepy Darth Vader. It is said to improve endurance, diminish distractions, release tension, and strengthen the nervous and digestive systems. It is a great meditative breath that quickly brings calm, focus, and centeredness. Here is a brief demonstration and here is a lengthy description. Try doing it for two minutes before taking on a difficult task.

For more ideas, in previous posts I've shared some additional exercises and practices to try to open up space in the body and mind:

On Your Last Nerve? Try Grounding

Time to Clear and Recharge Foggy Minds and Bodies

Feelings Stuck or Gone Amok?

If you can't seem to find calm or clarity these days, please get in touch for a free phone consultation to see whether I might be able to help you clear out some space and let in peace.

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