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The “Ahh” of a Full Body Stretch

Alissa Okrent
Alissa Okrent
Written by Alissa Okrent

February is a month of appreciating relationships including the one you have with your body! Cold temperatures make my body feel a bit stiff and remind me how important simple, basic body movements are to help feel calm, clear and focused.

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February is a month of appreciating relationships including the one you have with your body! Cold temperatures make my body feel a bit stiff and remind me how important simple, basic body movements are to help feel calm, clear and focused. This month, I am dedicating my appreciation to all the movements, sensations, emotions and expressions my body provides me on a daily basis.

Have you ever seen how a cat gets up, places its paws gracefully in front of its shoulders, then gently pushes through their legs, arching their back and stretching and rounding through the entire spine? It’s a full body stretch that feels great!

Watching this gentle, tranquil movement, I imagine the cat taking in the movement and the moment. In Yoga, the sequence called: “cat to cow and child’s pose” resembles a cat’s stretch, and it is quite refreshing.

Rounding the spine on an exhale, and arching it open on an inhale in a slow, purposeful manner gently massages the neuromuscular center of our body, providing a simple tool for refreshing the mind, body and clarity of thought.

If you wish to experiment with this, place your body on the ground, on “all fours” – hand and knees on the floor; back is parallel to the floor – as if you are creating a table. Inhale, look up to the ceiling, arch your back and let your belly drop towards the floor. As you exhale, round the spine, let your head release and eyes gaze to your belly. Repeat the sequence 4-5 times, breathing slowly.

If you wish to add a layer of connection to your inner wisdom, as you inhale, silently ask the question: “Where can I let go of judgment today?”, or “What is causing me additional stress?”, or “What inspires me to …..?” As you exhale, round the spine, and just wait for an answer. Let the movement, breath and question weave together and be aware of your “answer”. Trust it will come – maybe you will feel compelled to jot down a couple of notes.

Maybe the movement simply feels good, and that is fantastic! Taking a moment of purposeful self-care expands your mind, body, and spirit connection. A very simple way to appreciate your whole body.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?

I have accepted that maintaining flexibility means stretching every day, breathing deeply and fully and last but not least……laugh and smile! Even when I don’t feel like it!

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?

I appreciate that my desire to learn new ways to approach day to day situations, even when my plate is already full frustrates me and I must relax

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?

One of the most rewarding moments recently was my ability to open my mind, ask for help and allow myself to be mentored. It is an achievement because I realize how important receiving assistance is to achieve my goals is a major achievement.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?

My not so perfect way…. I begin sentences and trail off without finishing the thought or sentence…. I know what I’m thinking, it just leaves others hanging.

How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my purple toes! Pedicures in the winter are a huge treat and I love to add a bright color to my ten toes. Purple is one of my favorite accents!

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About the author

Alissa Okrent

Alissa Okrent

Alissa has 25 years of experience as a fitness and wellness professional. She received a BCC credential in Life Coaching, a certified fitness trainer through American Council on Exercise since 1987 and most recently has completed her Master Certification as a Soul Language Practitioner. Through her own life’s journey, Alissa has evolved a passion and commitment to sharing her special gift for overcoming day-to-day struggles, defusing tension, relaxing, laughing and moving with grace and ease by aligning mind, body and spirit. She now shares this gift with you!.

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