If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even stressed out, a bit of time on your mat is the best way I know how to deal with it. Yoga can help you release mental tension, along with the physical.
Move through the 7 poses described below slowly, moving mindfully, connecting to the breath, and allowing the body to open up from head to toe.
- Warm Up – Start in a comfortable seat, with the ankles crossed or one shin in front of the other. Relax the arms down at your sides. Inhale the arms up overhead, exhale them back down to the sides. Connecting to the breath for a few rounds. Then release the left hand to the side. Exhale, reaching the right arm up and over for a big side body stretch. Let your head be heavy. Reach through the fingertips, pushing through the right hip. Repeat side bend to the other side.
2. Seated Pigeon – Extend the legs out. Cross the right ankle over top of the left knee. Bring your hands down behind you. Bend into the left knee, any amount, drawing the right shin towards the chest. Keep the chest lifted, not rounding or slouching. Maybe add a rocking side to side while taking some slow stead breaths.
3. Forward Fold – Extend the left leg back out, bringing the right foot inside of the left thigh. Fold forward from here. Grasping hold of your shin, ankle or foot. Forward folds are my favorite way to nurture and calm the body as they open and stretch the parasympathetic nervous system.
Repeat 2 and 3 on the other side.
4. Humble Warrior – Standing at the top of your mat, step your left foot back. Take the feet a bit wider than hip width, and spin the left toes out about 45 degrees and ground the heel down. Bend in to your right knee. Lengthen the tailbone down. Clasp your hands behind your back. Inhale to open up, exhale to dive down inside of the right leg. Reach the knuckles up and over. Hold for several deep breaths. Then repeat on the other side.
5. Goddess – Turn to the long edge of your mat and step the legs wide. Turn the heels in and toes out slightly. Inhale, circling the arms up. Exhale bend the knees, drop the hips down, and bring the hands to the heart center. Repeat a few rounds. Then bring the palms on to the thighs. Feel the knees squeeze open and the tail lengthen down. Drop one shoulder forward, pulling the other one back, Switch sides.
6. Skandasana – Bring the hands to the ground. Bend into the right knee. Flex the left foot, curling the toes up. Sink the hips down. Take a few breaths on one side. Inhale moving through center and exhaling over to the other side.
7. Reclined Shoelace – Lower down on to your back. Cross your right thigh over your left one. Lift your feet, and kick them in opposite directions. Hold wherever is accessible, keeping head and shoulders heavy.
Want a full slow flow vinyasa class? Practice with me in the video below.