As a yoga instructor in one of the worlds most intense metropolis, I am used to seeing some pretty frazzled and shaken up individuals. We all have experienced the feeling of anxiousness, or feeling unsettled. Changing the way you feel, begins with awareness.
Lucky you, because yoga is a cultivation of awareness. We bring awareness to our body, our breath, and our beliefs. Every class I teach begins with a centering, involves some movement, and ends with rest. I would love to give you some tools to practice whether you are a seasoned yogi, or a yoga rookie to practice at home. This practice will allow you to embody your body, think thoughts that really serve you, and as if that weren’t enough, they’ll make you feel good to boot.
Start on your back. Whew, that’s a relief, no pretzel like poses right of the bat. Start lying down flat with your feet about 12 inches apart from each other and your hands resting by your sides, palms facing upward. This shape is called Savasana and is traditionally done at the end of class. I love ending and beginning this way, so give it a shot. As you rest there, begin to elongate your breath by at LEAST one count in each direction. Feeling your body rise and fall with each breath. The mind will most definitely want to wander (the sweet little monkey mind that it is) but continue to focus on the inhalation and the exhalation.
Set an intention. Maybe it’s an intention for your practice, or perhaps it’s an intention for your lifetime. It’s up to you! Just fill in the blank, “I intend….. “. Some of my previous intentions have been things like “I intend to be more loving towards myself and others”, or “I intend to feel energized”. Choose one that serves your desires, something specific to you.
Draw both knees into your chest and give your self a little squeeze. Gently allow both knees to fall to the right side, and open both arms out like the letter T. You will feel a nice spinal twist. This is not only magnificent for the spine, but for your digestive system as well. It’s like wringing your organs out like a wash cloth that needs rinsing. If your system is anything like mine it needs a good rinse. Repeat to the left.
Rock yourself up to a seated position. Extend both legs out directly in front of you, grounding down through your sits bones yet lengthening up through your spine. Oh by the way, you’re still connected to your breath, watching and observing it all the while. The inhales and exhales should be about the same length in each direction, slow and deliberate. On your next inhale reach both arms up to the ceiling, and on your exhale forward fold over your legs like your were imitating a panini sandwich. You may not get all the way down, that’s more than okay, just keep breathing. Hold this shape for 10 cycles of breath.
Make your way to a comfortable cross legged seated position. The position you see when you think of meditation. Sukasana, in Sanskrit, or easy pose. Gently fold the hands together at your heart and remind yourself of your intention. Take a moment of gratitude for carving out that 5 minutes to breath and reboot, cause you did it… Most people just fiddled around of Facebook. Acknowledge your efforts, keep breathing, and cary on.