Simply soothing - Sequence
A practice to encourage the mind to slow down and rest. We are all creatures of doing, but give yourself some time to just ‘be’ in this stretchy, floor-based flow. Here we shall remain seated, opening up the side body and hips. A nourishing class to gently awaken the whole body, and perfect to end a busy day. By Isabel Lankester
1. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head Over Knee)
Take your awareness to the right side body, this will now extend and stretch. Option to close the eyes and centre in. Can you encourage your exhale to extend and slow down? After at least 10 breaths, stretch the right hand down the right leg and lifting the left hand up and over, into revolved head over knee pose (see photo above). After at least 10 breaths come back up again into seated.
Now repeat on the left side, placing the left hand down by your side and reach the right arm up and over the head. After another 10 breaths return back up again into seated.
2. Baddha Konasana A (Butterfly Pose)
Place the soles together into Baddha Konasana A (butterfly pose), and sit tall as you inhale before learning forwards as you exhale. Option to keep the hands on the feet or walk the hands onto the floor. Notice your ability to stay still and present in the pose. Can you slow down your breathing by encouraging a four-part breath…counting in four beats of the inhale to match four beats of your exhale? Hold for 10-15 breaths before coming to lie on the ground.
3. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Take a squeeze of your knees to your belly. Roll the hips from side to side. Here we take hold of the outer edges of the feet into Happy Baby pose (Ananda Balasana). If you find that your feet are hard to reach, grab hold of the ankles or just under the knees. Encourage the knees to bend deeply, placed below the ankles. Keep your head and shoulders leaning back. Gently press the lower spine down. Can you remain still and let go of your jaw? See if you can hold for 10-20 breaths. In a yin class, we would hold this for 5-7 minutes, however, as we are short of time just a few minutes will work magic on the hips.
4. Supta Kapotasana (Supine Pigeon)
Find a rebound pose of your choice, stretch out your legs and arms. When ready, place the souls of the feet to the floor, knees bent upwards to the sky. Place the right foot across the left knee to supine pigeon pose (Supta Kapotasana). There is an option to either keep the hands on the ground (image 4) — or, as image 5 suggests, thread the needle and bind the hands around the left inner thigh. Breathe into the hips and let the breath guide the release of those large muscle groups. Notice a softening of the hips and glutes; this is a wonderful pose to soothe sciatica. Here we shall hold this pose for 10-20 breaths before repeating this supine pigeon on the other side.
5. Twisted Roots Pose (reclining twist)
Once repeated on the left leg, fold the legs into the chest and squeeze the knees in. We shall now take our final pose before Savasana. Twisting at the end of the practice helps to restore equilibrium in the nervous system and release tension in the spine. Start by lying on the back, soles to the floor and knees pointing upwards. Now hook the right leg on top of the left leg, let the legs now drop to the left hand side. Arms go wide along the floor and you can start gazing at the right arm. Twisted Roots pose, or reclining twist. If the shoulder is still floating, place a blanket under the shoulder or a bolster along the spine. Hold for 10-20 breaths before rolling back to neutral and hugging the knees in. Repeat this on the other side.
Remember: If tingling occurs in the arms or hands, move them lower until the blood flows again.
6. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Finally, we finish in Savasana or corpse pose. No yoga session is complete without a final relaxation posture. Even though this pose is a resting pose, it’s not the same as sleeping! You should try to stay present and aware during the five to 10 minutes you spend in final relaxation. This pose gives us time to process the day and the practice itself, helping us wind down and relax. Keep the eyes closed and the legs stretched out long. If you feel pinching in the lower back, you can bend the knees, placing the feet at the floor and allowing the knees to rest up against each other. Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest pose. It is so much easier for us to stay distracted and busy. Can we rest in simply ‘being here’ in this wonderful body? Can we feel rooted to the earth, loved and supported by her in this moment?
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