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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Slow Down Turbo! Yoga for Stress Relief

Sometimes you can't always make it to a Yoga Studio. I get it.
Below is a simple easy yoga practice you can do at home to help you relax, re-set your nervous system and release tension during stressful times. It is not fancy, strenuous or complicated. Simple. Easy. Relaxing. It might take you 20min tops. But your body and nervous system will respond to this little bit of loving attention you give to yourself and wonderful things will begin to happen!

Take. The. Time. It's better than fretting, worrying, ruminating or feeling awful. This is easy and you CAN do this. No one else will/can truly do it for you. The only way to deal with your suffering, your discontent, your to go straight into it...and then through to the other side.

Sooooo - turn your phone off! Dim the lights. Maybe play music you like. Create an uninterrupted space for yourself to relax, breathe and focus inward. This is short. It's simple. It's sweet.
Move with intention and breath.

Hold each posture for a minimum of 5 breaths before moving on to the next.
Breathe smoothly and evenly, through the nose, throughout your practice and let the breath lengthen...especially your exhalations. Use your exhales to soften and settle into each posture.

 Vaparita Karani (legs up the wall)
This is a great place to start. You may wish to place a pillow under your hips to elevate the lower body even more and help release pressure from the lower back.
Hold for 3 - 5 min.

Roll to one side to release. Take your time and move to your hands and knees.

Childs Pose - Balasana
Shift your hips back to your heels and rest forehead on the floor in Child's Pose.
Arms either overhead or at your sides.
Breathe 5 full breaths and settle the hips down with each exhale.

Come back onto hands and knees.
Wrists under shoulders, knees under hips.

 Cat/Cow Pose
 Start to move with your breath.
1 - Inhale: lift tailbone twd ceiling, draw shoulders back, look up
2 - Exhale: tuck tailbone under (twd floor), push into hands and drop head to really round spine.
Continue with the breath - 5-6 breaths 

Come up onto the knees in a kneeling position.
Gate Pose
Extend one leg. Reach up with opposite arm. Lean over your extended leg. Look up. Reach, breathe, lengthen your Side Body.
Hold 3-5 breaths - extending and lengthening.
Repeat on opposite side.

Downward Dog
Return to hands and knees. (hands a bit forward of shoulders now, fingers spread wide)
Lift hips toward ceiling. Press firmly into both palms. Let your head relax.
Bend your knees slightly if the legs are tight.
Press the chest back toward the front of your thighs.
Hold 5 full breaths.

 Return to Child's Pose for a few breaths.
Then transition onto your back.
Reclining Twist
Bring your knees (together) into your chest.
Open both arms on the floor at shoulder level.
Take a deep breath. When you exhale let your knees move to one side...hovering over the floor. 
Inhale - knees come back through center.
Exhale - knees flow to other side, hovering over floor.
Repeat, moving with the breath, 4-5 times on each side.
Perhaps hold the last one by letting the knees fall all the way to the floor and taking a few breaths there.

 Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Pose
Bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees open to the sides.
You might place pillows or folded blankets under your knees for support.
Relax your shoulders, close you eyes. Breathe and let your belly rise and fall with the breath.
Sink into gravity.
5-10 breaths

Relax onto your back and let yourself settle...
Savasana. The pose of sweet surrender.
Perhaps place a pillow under your thighs for supporting the lower back.
Relax and breathe here. 
Let your mind drift.
Let gravity pull your body into the Earth.
Spend a few minutes here simply observing what arises. 
Extend compassion towards yourself. Extend forgiveness to those who have wronged you.
Contemplate the notion that the Universe is ON YOUR SIDE. It WANTS to bring you positive wonderful experiences and people. The more you relax into that notion, and the easier it becomes to focus on what you want....beautiful things begin to come.
Release everything.