Ease Into The Day with Morning Yoga

By Caroline L. Young, MS, RD, LD, RYT

In the last six months or so, it’s safe to say that life has changed for everyone - some more dramatically than others. As you know, that change has brought about an eruption of virtual life—learning, working and connecting in cyber space. Never in a million years would I have thought the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ annual conference Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) would be virtual. But here we are, and the show must go on!

Also, within the last six months, most of my clients, family friends, and I have been grappling with increased anxiety. Most of which comes along with the abrupt changes brought on by the pandemic - stemming from painful emotions like fear, factors like isolation, and extreme uncertainty.


Yoga to the Rescue

Personally, yoga has been a constant for me that I can rely on to help me get grounded, be present, and manage my anxiety much more effectively. That’s why I am so happy to have the opportunity to lead a basic morning yoga practice for a day of FNCE.


Here’s a little ‘why’ behind this particular all-levels practice:


Centering - It’s important to take some time at the beginning of a practice to sit and practice pranayama (breathing techniques), to help the mind and body settle together. Setting an intention or an affirmation to carry you through your practice can serve as motivation and is something I encourage you to take with you off your mat and into your life.


Warm-Ups - Since this practice is in the morning, chances are you may be stiff like I am first thing. That’s why I take the second portion of this practice to open the neck, spine, shoulders and side body, as well as activate the core.


Strengthening - The next postures I guide in this practice - plank, side plank and downward dog with variations - build heat in the body and allow us to feel our strength. Locust pose with arms behind the back is an amazing back strengthener, which also opens the shoulders.


Deep Stretching - Towards the end of practice, we move into some slow, deep postures like separate leg stretching and bound angle pose, to active the parasympathetic nervous system again, stretch the muscles, and release any remaining tension in the body. And supine (lying) pigeon and happy baby are beautiful hip-openers that is great for sitting all day at a virtual conference.


Savasana and Integration - Ah, perhaps the most important part of practice! Savasana (relaxation) is a time to allow all of the work and yoga postures to integrate. It is a time to be still and allow yourself to simply be. At the end, I often love to share inspiring poetry like the one I shared in this practice. And of course, I am excited to share my favorite post-yoga peanut butter snack, which is basic but never fails me: Sliced banana with a big scoop of chunky peanut butter in a bowl. The combination of simple sugar from the banana, with the protein and *good fats from the peanut butter replenishes my body and makes my taste buds very happy.


Here are some of my other favorite post-yoga snacks:

  • Greek yogurt with berries and salted peanuts
  • Trail mix with salted peanuts, chocolate chips and dried cranberries
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Graham crackers with chocolate peanut butter


Walk Slowly

By: Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

 of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

 race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

 forget, catch myself charging forward

 without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

 to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

 slowly into the mystery.

-Danna Faulds


* Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts [, peanut,] as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

This year National Peanut Board went virtual for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' annual meeting (FNCE®) Oct. 17-20. The premier event for food and nutrition professionals. The latest nutrition science information, food service trends, and access to the top experts are showcased here. We had a virtual yoga class Monday, October 19, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. CST in the FNCE® Expo Theater.

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