When you rise & shine in the am, what's the first thing you do? Me... before I'm even vertical I stretch my arms overhead, take a deep breath in & exhale out (often loudly like a lion) It's instinctive for me to do so as it is I am sure for many of you. Why is this movement important as well as instinctive?
Putting your arms in the overhead plane holds many health benefits.
- Invigorates the nervous system.
- Increases confidence.
- Decreases cortisol.
- Builds arm & shoulder strength.
- Opens the chest.
- Improves posture (getting rid of 'text neck')
- Releases tension.
- Decreases low back pain.
- Improves balance.
- Lengthens & strengthens spine.
- Challenging yet so much FUN!
Did you know that research of Olympic athletes has proven that raising our arms overhead (aka "Victory Salute") is hard-wired in our dna. Raising the arms embodies a gold medal performance, while slumping the shoulders in defeat is also a natural response to loss. In a study of athletes who were blind from birth, researches found they too exhibited these responses to wins & losses. What does this point to? Sighted & congenitally blind athletes both use the same gestures to exhibit pride or shame. How amazing is that!
Body posture can offer an indication into the emotional and mental state of a person. Arms overhead symbolize joy, power, pride and enthusiasm. Arms down with a slumped posture & narrowed chest indicates loss, low energy, & a lack of power and confidence.
The practice of yoga helps enhance the overall wellness of a person and my goodness do we put our arms overhead on the regular! Each day it's recommended to have our arms overhead for at least three minutes. Poses such as Urdhava Hastasana, Raised Hands Salute (aka Upward Salute) are perfect to get the body into action. Try it now... simply stand tall, firm your legs, lift your chest & reach your arms skyward, breathing in and out your nose. See how long you can stay in this pose. Notice how you feel before & after. Better?
Then you can go on to poses such as Warrior 1, crescent lunge, crescent moon, tree pose.... endless opportunities await.
If you don't the genius of Amy Cuddy & her work with Power Pose, you must check her out. She has proven that, "When our body language is confident and open, other people respond in kind, unconsciously reinforcing not only their perception of us but also our perception of ourselves. Her TED talk "Your body language may shape who you are" has over 16 million views. Give it a view: Amy Cuddy
How does this land for you? Does it seem a little woo-woo or is it resonating? I offer you a challenge... Find a picture of yourself with your arms in the air. Ask yourself how are you were feeling when it was taken- joyful, powerful, confident? Likely it's all of the above. Look closely at YOU. Feel the energy in your body. Know you are that person at your core. Powerful, confident, full of limitless possibility. If you'd be willing, share that photo and a few sentences that would be amazing! Either send an email or post on social media tagging @embodygr and @feelbetterdogood.
My personal fave photo is arms in the air with my daughter Gracie at Embody The Stars 2019. Raising a strong, confident, powerful young woman in the world today is a challenge and one I meet head on everyday. I will not allow the world to take away her self-confidence on my watch. How many moms are with me here?
When each of us knows we are worthy to take up space on this planet, we encourage each other by our example and physical posture to embrace & accept ourselves; to know we are powerful beyond measure; to live to our fullest potential. Not with arrogance, but with a grounded knowing that joy, confidence, & worthiness are our birthright.
Stand tall. Rise up with arms, energy & heart. Shine your light. Share your life. The world needs you.
Yours in power,
Dana Christian Lee &
Embody in Grand Rapids:
1. Register for the upcoming Yoga Down On The Farm with the Kids Food Basket on August 7. Only 20 slots.
2. Check out our website events page to keep up to date on all the happenings! Events
3. Mark your calendar for our upcoming fundraiser with lululemon: "Shine Bright! Fashion Show & Luncheon" on Thursday, September 26!
4. Share our events on social media so we can magnify the positive impact of our "Feel Better Do Good" movement!
July 31, 2019
What: Weekly gathering w/ EmbodyGR Team Teacher Stacy Calcatera
Where: Fountain Street Social Hall
When: 6:30-8:00 pm
What: Free yoga, mindfulness & community service opportunities
Why: Feel Better, Do Good
August 7, 2019
What: EmbodyGR Yoga w/ Dana & Volunteer Down on the Farm with Kids' Food Basket
* Be sure to register online- Only 20 spots available
Where: Kids Food Basket Farm
When: 5:45pm arrive at Oak Industrial. We will car pool over together. Volunteer 6-7 and Yoga 7-7:30.
What: Living our mantra to Do Good for hungry children
Why: Because the world needs YOU!
“The EmbodyGR community embraces and supports, says ‘yes you can’ when the noisy inner voice says, ‘no you can’t’ – Kari Wilson, Community Member