Easter weekend can mean lots of things to different people, but to veterinary professionals it can often mean a long weekend on call, or just another weekend without a break. Hopefully you’re enjoying the sunshine, a chance to catch up with friends and family, and Easter treats, but if not, allow VetYogi to help you to take some time for yourself this weekend. This gentle, grounded sequence is ideal for if you don’t have much left in the tank, and flows nicely if followed in order.
CONNECT TO YOUR BREATH
If you’ve been on the go with a busy mind, or worrying that the on-call phone could go at any moment, it can be hard to settle in and let go. Begin by finding a comfortable seated position, such as Sukhasana, and consciously bring your attention to your breathing. Try Sama Vritti, an easy meditative breathing exercise, which involves balancing the duration of your inhalations with your exhalations, to help you to get started. Stay here for a few minutes and allow your parasympathetic nervous system to be dominant for a change this weekend.
RELEASE TENSION FROM YOUR NECK
The neck and shoulders are common places to carry and store tension, and you may not even be aware of how tightly you are holding yourself here until you bring your awareness to it. Allow this mini-series of gentle Neck Stretches to ease out the kinks and loosen you up.
OPEN YOUR HEART AND HIPS
The emotional aspects of our jobs can be quite draining, especially when we are having to constantly manage our own emotions and reactions appropriately. Some of us may experience a tightening in the chest across the sternum, or notice after a difficult day that our hips feel tight. Gomukhasana (Cow Face) pose is a handy combined heart and hip opener, with the added benefit of being calming.
Whether you’ve been busy consulting, or tackling those emergency surgeries, chances are the weekend will have taken its toll on your posture. Re-discover your body’s equilibrium by lengthening out the lower and upper body in Dandasana (Staff pose), and drawing those shoulders down and away from the ears. This one is more active than it looks, but can help us to take control of the tension and activation in our body, in order to release it.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL
When your priority is taking care of your patients and clients, your own personal welfare can go out of the window. Maybe your weekend is going well and the phone is giving you some peace- great. Allow yourself to feel happy and grateful about it (just avoid the ‘Q’ word if that’s your thing!) Perhaps it’s been one of the toughest weekends you’ve ever worked, and you’re tired, overwhelmed, and feeling low- that’s ok too. Allow Camel pose, one of my favourite postures for emotional expression, to help you acknowledge your feelings and let them go.
Finish by easing into Uttitha Balasana (extended child’s pose) and breathing here. Notice if you feel differently to how you did at the start (don’t judge whether you do or don’t, just notice). Hopefully you feel good about dedicating this time to yourself- you have no doubt more than earned it, and even if you don’t feel you have, trust me, you deserve it. Have faith that you will get through whatever this weekend is throwing at you, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.