Are you feeling totally overwhelmed, discouraged, beaten down, powerless, or exhausted? Take heart in knowing that you are not alone. These symptoms are sadly common in today’s fast-paced, high energy society. Work-life balance has almost become unrealistic. Maybe you cannot take off work for a vacation, or afford to go get a deep tissue massage every week (even though you need it)… You can, however, practice yoga.
Yoga is great for being an exercise that can be done as a group in a class or individually at home. You do not have to be an expert to learn some effective yoga relaxation poses. Along with some other techniques taught in yoga, there are some yoga relaxation poses that you can learn to do at home that can be your ten minutes of stress relief that you can implement each day to get you through to the next. Take a deep breath. Let’s begin.
Yoga Relaxation Techniques
Before we start learning actual postures and poses to practice for relaxation, there are some simple techniques that yoga teaches that are important to master before trying to jump into variations of poses.
Proper breathing and mind control are important to learn. Remember to breathe throughout the poses. Sometimes you may notice yourself holding your breath or breathing too heavily. Practice breathing control. Inhale. Exhale. Take your time learning to breathe. For your first few sessions, spend your ten minutes on your yoga mat in your living room playing relaxing music and just breathing. Practice breathing control, and when you have mastered it- move onto learning poses. Also, practice easing your mind. Set an intention. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology, it is a great time to learn.
An intention is a focus for your thoughts during your yoga practice. It can vary each time you practice or remain the same. Go with what you need during that time. Maybe you need to focus on your posture. Maybe you will set your intention to enjoyment. Perhaps you need to set your intention to forgive yourself for any mistakes, or move on from any past hurts. Whatever your mind needs to do to fully relax, let it go there. When you are breathing properly and have a clear and positive intention, you are ready to begin.
You should already be relaxing after mastering the two basic techniques, but you are about to feel even better.
Yoga Relaxation Poses: A 10 Minute Sequence You Can Try At Home
1. Cat Pose: Begin the sequence by getting onto your hands and knees. Take a deep breath. As you inhale, round your back up like a cat. Draw your belly button into your spine. Focus on stretching your back, creating space between your tense shoulder blades, and pressing through your hands into the ground. Let out all of you tension as you press. Imagine all of your worries as balloons that you are letting rise off of your back to float away from you.
2. Cow Pose: Following your cat post, get ready to reverse. Exhale and arch your back. Pull your belly down. Arch your back. Feel the gentle stretching. Alternate between cat and cow poses for several rounds keeping your breathing in rhythm.
3. Downward Facing Dog Pose: Push up into the downward dog by pulling your hips up towards the sky and pushing through your heels. Pedal your feet back and forth, shifting your weight as you hold the pose for several breaths. Stretch and hold. You are doing great!
4. Plank Pose: Lower your hips and get down into a plank position. Squeeze your core to keep your body stiff and straight (like a board). If you need a modification, you might try lowering your knees to the mat. Continue to work your core. Hold for several counts. You may continue to increase the amount of time you hold your plank to increase endurance and stamina.
5. Cobra Pose: Lower your plank down to the mat. Lay your stomach flat on your mat as you relax your toes to lay flat as well. With your arms, stretch up arching your back lifting your head and chest tall to the ceiling. Take several deep breaths as you hold this pose.
This is the end of the simple relaxation sequence. To restart, go from your Cobra back onto all fours to start back to the Cat.
Repeat back through the Cat Pose, Cow Pose, Downward Facing Dog Pose, Plank Pose, and Cobra Pose until you are calm, stretched, and relaxed. Always remember to modify any pose to fit your health conditions or injuries. Listen to your body and never do something that creates intense pain. Set your intention. Stick to it.