September was designated National Yoga Month in 2009 by the Department of Health & Human Services as a way to raise awareness, educate and promote the health benefits of yoga and a healthy lifestyle. Want to join in the celebration?

1. Learn about the practice. Read, listen to an audiobook or podcast, or attend a class. Yoga is so much more than moving your body into certain shapes. It is a multifaceted approach to living and being the best person you can be at any given moment. 

2. Breathe. This is the most important part of the practice. A long inhale can energize us. A long exhale can calm us down. An even inhale and exhale can bring us peace and balance. Noticing the breath can help us to find focus in an anxious moment. 

3. Take a mindful walk. When was the last time you took a walk and tuned into the five senses? Truly feel your feet make contact with the Earth. Inhale as you take a step. Exhale as you take a step. Smell the air. Notice the colors. Taste the air. Listen to sounds near and far. 

4. Try meditation. In my experience, meditation works best after movement. Movement releases tension and extra energy from the body and mind first. Second, find a comfortable seat either in a chair or on the floor (you can even meditate lying down!). Set a timer for three minutes. Lower your gaze or close your eyes. Notice the sensation of air as it enters your nose on an inhale. Notice the sensation of air as it exits your nose on an exhale. Continue to follow the flow of your breath in and out of your nose until your mind settles. Perhaps you continue practicing this exercise and set the timer for more than three minutes next time. The more you practice the easier meditation becomes. 

5. Listen to a visualization. Several times per week, I hook up my headphones and listen to a visualization while I fall asleep at night. One of my favorites is a series by Michael Sealey.  

I hope you decide to celebrate National Yoga Month. If you need some support to get started (or re-started) let me know. I am happy to help!

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Sally Delisle, E-RYT500, RCYT, YACEP, CD, is co-owner of ChildLight Education Company. She is the author/creator of the Yoga & Mindfulness Advanced Teaching Concepts Training and manual, Yoga & Mindfulness for Youth Athletes Workshop, and contributor to the Yoga & Mindfulness in Schools and Tweens & Teens trainings. She has been sharing yoga and mindfulness practices with children, teens and adults in studio, childcare, preschool, public school, and home school settings, as well as teaching athletes, coaches and educators at area universities and school districts, for over 19 years. In addition to holding degrees in both Fine Arts/Dance and Psychology, Sally has completed training in Yin, Restorative, Prenatal, Trauma, MBSR, is a Reiki Master, Certified Birth Doula, and a National Board Certified Reflexologist.

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