Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Two yoga poses any parent can do to get better sleep.

By Sahar Pazirandeh, certified yoga instructor

You’ve successfully put your children to sleep, finished a chore-or-two around the house and you are ready to curl up in bed for a good night’s rest. Somehow, the more tired you are, the harder it is to fall asleep.

Your  restless mind snaps you back to reality as soon as your body begins to melt into the mattress.

Your body follows your monkey mind and cannot seem to find a comfortable position.

We’ve all had these nights, and what keeps us up the most is the thought of, “I really need to get some sleep.”

The next time you’re feeling restless try a few of these tips to get your mind and body to relax.

1. write: Jot down (on paper or using your smartphone) the random to-do’s running around your head.

2. music: If you can, put on relaxing music like the yoga or meditation station on Pandora

3. breathe: Lay there and breathe in any comfortable position.

Inhale deeply into your belly, feel our ribs expand, and your chest rise. Start your exhales in the same order, emptying your belly, feeling your ribs contract and your chest fall.

If you are pregnant please do not hold your breath.

Otherwise, for 3 rounds, inhale deeply, holding your breath at the top for 3-5 seconds, and then exhale slowly, open mouth, feeling your body melt into the mattress.

Once you feel the weight of your body get heaview, begin to put your body to sleep head-to-toe like this:

soften the space between my eyes
my jaw is unclenched
my cheeks are heavy
my tongue has fallen from the roof of my mouth

Put each body part to sleep and feel it get more relaxed and heavy. You will at least feel more rested if you don’t fall asleep by the time you reach your toes!

4. restorative yoga poses:


Traditionally this pose has your legs up a wall, but we want you to fall asleep and wake up with no kinks. Laying in your bed slide pillows under your knees until you feel a complete release in your lower back, much like when you are floating in the pool.

Let your arms lay any place they are comfortable, the best would be not touching or resting on your torso.

Child’s Pose

Kneel while in bed with big toes touching and knees spread apart as much is comfortable for you.

Lower your torso between knees, bringing forehead to rest on your bed or pillow and extend arms overhead, also resting on bed or pillow.  Breathe deeply into your stomach until you feel your lower back expand, holding for up to 1 minute or even longer.

Find us on Twitter @CyHopeThe Center and let us know if any of these tips work for you.

Sweet dreams,

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Benefits of Marriage Counseling

By:Sarah Henry, Graduate Student Intern

Most people hear marriage counseling and quickly come to the conclusion that whoever is attending must be struggling in their relationship. Although that may be true for some, not everyone uses marriage counseling as a last resort to save their marriage. Some couples see it as a way to continue to grow and nurture their marriage. In an effort to debunk the myth that marriage counseling is only for those who have no other options left, let me give you a few notes on how it can be beneficial, even for those in a happy marriage.

First, marriage counseling can simply act as a check up for you and your spouse. People don’t just see the doctor when they are sick. Most go for a yearly check up to make sure everything is still working properly. While most checkups show that everything is normal, every now and then something unexpected can pop up. In the same way, attending a brief session marriage counseling can help you and your spouse officially check in with each other. It can help identify some problem areas that may be rising up or just serve as reassurance that you guys are doing well.

Marriage counseling can also help fine-tune those issues that may cause strife in a happy marriage. Finances may be a struggle and adding a third party to help mediate the disagreement could lead to better financial planning. Deciding whether to start or expand the family, go back to school, switch jobs, or learning how to parent together may also be some areas of focus during marriage counseling.

Finally, after years of marriage, some couples need help reconnecting with each other. It doesn’t mean they no longer love each other; it means life got in the way. With work, school, children, and pets, everything is begging for our attention. We focus on everything running smoothly and at the end of the day, we are lucky to get a goodnight kiss. Busy schedules make it easy to forget why you fell in love with your spouse. Attending marriage counseling can bring back those romantic feelings and reignite the flame that once burned bright as day.

It’s important to remember that asking for a counselor to help is not a sign that your marriage is crumbling. Recognizing that you and your spouse cannot do it alone is a strength that many couples lack. Reaching out to a professional is nothing to be ashamed about. Working hard to maintain a healthy marriage is something to brag about, not hide because of a false stigma.

Follow us on Twitter @CyHopeTheCenter