Fashion Week can be both exhilarating and exhausting. For designers, models, buyers, editors and bloggers, fashion month is a time of dizzying turbulence, a marathon spent dashing across cities. Running from show to show, going to photo opportunities and celebrity events, attending late-night after parties, and filing the day’s reviews which all take its toll on fashion week enthusiasts. With everything going on, we all need a moment to catch our breath. Here are some go-to yoga tips to help you get centred during the most manic time of the year – also recommended for anyone feeling overextended this fall.
Get grounded with meditation and positive affirmations
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on the present moment. You can do this everywhere, while sitting in a car, waiting for a show to start, or leaving home in the morning. When you meditate - even for only a minute - you will see powerful results in your life.
Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight, feet touching the ground. Close your eyes. Take a few deep cleansing breaths for the body to start relaxing, then use your mind to watch your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to alter your breathing. Observe your sensations without judgment. Then put your palm on your heart and use an affirmation: ‘I am peaceful. I am grateful. I am love’. Say the positive affirmation in your mind repeatedly, for as long as you wish, and say it with emotion. Alternatively, if you are new to meditation, put on your earphones and use a good meditation app! Affirmation is one off the simplest and most powerful ways to change the quality of our life experience and create the things we want in our lives.
Calm panic attacks with this breathing exercise
If you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious or disconnected from your body and mind, practice Sama Vritti or equal breathing. This breathing technique teaches you steadiness and supports a gentle shift in the parasympathetic nervous system that can slow your heart rate. It promotes balance and evenness in the natural flow of consciousness.
Sit in a comfortable position or lie on your back. Close your eye and begin to notice your natural breath, not changing anything at first then breathe in slowly for 1-2-3-4 steady counts. Take a moment at the top of your inhalation and then count to four as you exhale. Continue this for several rounds.
Wear stilettos pain free
Wearing high heels can shorten the muscles in your calves leading to pain that can cause an inflammation of the Achilles tendon called Achilles Tendonitis. The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone (calcaneus). Once the heel is pointed upwards, it tightens up. Stretching it again or switching to flats can be very painful; it can even lead to plantar fasciitis, which is a condition that causes heel and arch pain. By stretching out your calves properly, you can prevent Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, calf strains or tears.
If switching to flats is not an option, the good news is that by strengthening and stretching the muscles in your feet, legs and back, you can get the proper posture and healthy foot function that will make wearing stilettos relatively pain-free. Downward-facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is one of the poses you can try to stretch your Achilles tendon, hamstrings and upper back.
Plant your hands to the mat, shoulder width apart. Spread your fingers wide and press your hips up and back so your body looks like an upside-down V. Feel the stretch on your hamstrings and the lengthening of your back, engage your core. Keep the feet hip-width apart and your hands pressing into the floor. Spreading your shoulder blades apart will stretch your upper back and reaching your hips up and back will help to open your lower back. Keep the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang and gaze between your toes or toward your navel. Stay here for about one – three minutes. Lower your knees if you get lightheaded.
Relieve back pain
Your fashion choices might have a definite impact on the overall health of your back. You may be surprised by the impact your clothing has on your spine’s health. Just like wearing uncomfortable shoes, wearing clothes that are too tight compromises your balance. Wearing constricting clothing like skinny jeans, pencil skirts, compression clothing or shapewear like Spanx can restrict mobility and force other muscles to strain as they try to compensate for the resulting change in posture. Try Cat/Cow poses to stretch the spine and loosen back muscles.
Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart and directly under your hips. As you inhale, arc your back downward, lifting your chest and tailbone toward the ceiling, and gaze upwards. Let your belly sink toward the ground. This is Cow. Next, as you exhale, round your back upward, press your belly toward your spine, and tuck your head toward your chest. This is Cat. Continue these movements slowly and gently for ten deep breaths.
Prevent tech neck pain
Staring at your phone while waiting for the show to start, taking picture-perfect selfies and behind-the-scenes photos, snapping pictures as the first model walks through, making videos, and sharing experiences live on social media, these are typical scenarios during Fashion Week. Using cell phones usually results in you being hunched over, which can wreak havoc on your neck and shoulders. Repeatedly craning of your head down and forward to look at your phone screen not only impacts the structure of your spine, but also may trigger the development of fine lines and wrinkles around the neck and a reduced supply of oxygen to your brain. The good news is you can condition your body to reverse "tech neck" pain and prevent further discomfort. Do Neck Rolls to relieve stiffness and tension in the neck and shoulders.
Drop your chin toward your chest. Relax, let the head hang heavy, and exhale. As you inhale, begin to circle your head to the right side, then to the back, then to the left side and exhale as your chin drop towards your chest. Continue slowly circling for five rotations and then switch directions.
Get rid of belly bloat
If you’ve been indulging in novel treats and your stomach is feeling bloated and swollen, try Child’s Pose (Balasana). It is an all-around great pose for aiding in digestion and relieving bloating. This pose compresses the digestive organs and helps stimulate digestive fire.
Kneel with knees slightly apart. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, fold forward. Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or extend the arms out in front of you. Breathe here for 10 or more deep breaths.
Soothe tired legs and feet
After long hours on your feet, try Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani) – a simple pose that regulates blood circulation, manages blood pressure, restores tired feet and legs, and also is great for insomnia and sleep-related disorders, while effectively managing mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
The easiest way to do it is lie in bed and put your legs up the headboard. Walk your feet up the wall until your body is in L-shaped position. Let your arms rest on your belly or out to the sides. Focus on your breath – taking a deep, slow inhale and exhale through your nose. Stay in the pose for as long as you want as you take in the restorative power of this simple yoga pose.
Nerry Toledo is a Dubai-based yoga instructor. She conducts regular give-what-you-can community classes with the goal of making yoga more accessible for everyone. Nerry also teaches tailored private sessions for personalised instruction based on your health, body type, fitness goals and lifestyle.
To find out more, visit http://www.nerryfit.com/