You’ve made it through your day. You’ve cooked a delicious meal and now you’re ready to clean up and chill out.
1. Doing the Dishes with Conscious Awareness:
Have you ever thought about your spine while cleaning (the dishes or anything else)? It is so easy to move well during your yoga class, or fitness class, but how do you do when you’re tired, your hands are submersed in suds and you just want to get things done?
Breathe Diaphragmatically: Doing the dishes (or any household chore) is a part of our lives. Just like vacation is. We can use it to engage more deeply in our present moment, or rush through it. Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn has a beautiful dishwashing meditation in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness
Stagger your stance: Or widen your legs. Use your legs to adjust the height of your hands with respect to your work surface, rather than bending at the hips.
Feel Your Shoulder Blades: Feel your shoulder blades gently drawing away from your ears, and stabilizing your shoulder/ arm and hand movement
Allow your dishes to become a moment of mindful awareness: Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn has a super practical and beautiful washing dishes meditation in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness. Allow yourself to notice the warm water, the slippery feel of the soap. When looked into deeply, having warm water, dish soap, dishes and dinner are truly positive experiences.
2. Wash Your Face With a Neutral Spine:
Use the same techniques we employed above to make sure your neck and the rest of your spine are neutral when you are brushing your teeth, putting on moisturizer, washing your face and getting ready for bed.
3. Unload Your Spine While Chillaxing:
When you’re watching TV or reading, what position is your spine in? Are you slumped against a couch? Could you lie down, getting gravity from loading your spine and prop your legs up and still see the TV/ read well?
Find positions that protect the specific challenges of your spine. When in doubt, unload your spine when you can (lie down or recline in neutral), as we are all loaded in weight bearing every time we sit/ stand (and many of us do that much of the day). True confession, Andy and I just realized our futon folds down so easily to a lush twin size bed- we lounge on that almost every night when we watch whatever 80s horror movie Andy is into.
And now that you have made it through your day while not overdrawing your account, you are ready to relax and get a good night’s rest. If you try these techniques, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!
Stay tuned for next week when I will write about sleep positions.
Happy (safe) Moving!