Happy Youth Monday!
Today we will continue our yoga practice by adding two powerful relaxation techniques and one new yoga pose to our routine. I encourage you to make this a family practice. If your children see you practicing and having fun, they will want to join you. It works for me every time!
First, make sure you practice on a soft surface. A yoga mat is ideal. Wear comfortable clothing. Consult your healthcare provider if you are not sure if you should engage in this type of physical activity.
This is a very effective way to release physical tension. We often do not realize how much tension we are holding in our bodies. This, in turn, maintains stress in the nervous system and depletes the body’s energy levels. When we consciously tense and then relax each body part, we are able to release it. Here are the steps:
1- Begin in Savasana or Corpse Pose. Flex your feet and leg muscles. Lift them 3 inches off the mat. Then, release and drop your legs on the floor.
2- Lift your hips, tense, then release.
3- Tense your abs as you push your lower back closer to the mat. Release.
4- Lift your chest up high and release.
5- Inhale as you bring your shoulders up to your ears. Release.
6- Gently push your shoulders down toward your feet and release.
7- Move your head from side to side, releasing tension from neck muscles.
8- Contract your facial muscles toward your nose. Try to kiss the tip of your nose! Release.
9- Lion’s Breath- Open your mouth, stick your tongue out, open your eyes wide, and look upward to give your facial muscles a good stretch. Exhale through your mouth and relax.
Take a moment to feel the difference in your body after this exercise! You may do this several times a day.
The Fish Pose– (Matsyasana)
The Fish acts as a gentle counter-pose to the Shoulderstand. You will feel a renewed sense of balance and deep relaxation throughout your body as you come out of this pose. It increases the vital capacity of the lungs, reduces bronchial congestion, brings flexibility to the upper spine, revitalizes the thyroid gland, and stimulates the pineal gland. This promotes wellness and helps with feelings of depression and anxiety.
From Corpse Pose or Savasana, bring your legs together. Hide your straight arms under your torso (palms down). As you inhale, lift your chest as high as possible, bending your arms, arching your back, and carefully bending your neck backward. Place the top of your head gently on the floor. Keep your mouth closed as you take full, deep abdominal breaths.
To release the asana, push firmly on your elbows, lift your head slightly and lower your back to the floor. Release the arms and go back to Corpse Pose.
This is the most rewarding moment of our yoga practice. It increases the benefits of each asana and brings your body and mind to a state of balance through three levels of relaxation: physical, mental, and spiritual. We will consciously relax each part of our body by sending “autosuggestion” messages starting with your feet. Gradually move up until you reach your head. Example: Focus on your feet. Mentally repeat “I relax my feet. My feet are relaxed. I relax my legs. My legs are relaxed”, and so on. With practice, you will feel your body parts relax and recharge as you consciously rest. The aim is to remain awake throughout the practice. Make sure to take your time to gently stretch before you sit down.
I trust you will feel rejuvenated and energized. Have a great week!