Sometimes it can be challenging to calm down and relax, especially after a busy day with barely a moment to yourself. Yoga is the perfect way to wind down, helping to release stress, anxiety and tension. Bring your day to a close with these calming breaths, gentle movements, and relaxing poses.
(These along with additional poses are found in The Healing Yoga Deck. Click here to learn more.)
Alternate Nostril Breath
· Sit on a mat or chair in any comfortable position with tall, elongated spine; roll shoulders down and away from the ears.
· Place index and middle fingers of the right hand on your forehead between your eyebrows; thumb rests near the right nostril, and ring and baby fingers rest near the left nostril. Inhale and exhale through the nose.
· Close the right nostril with the thumb; inhale through the left nostril for a count of 5.
· Close both nostrils, holding the breath for a count of 5.
· Lift the thumb, exhale through the right nostril for a count of 5.
· Inhale through the right nostril for a count of 5, hold the breath for a count of 5. Close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. This completes 1 round. Repeat for 4 more rounds.
Legs-Against-Wall / Legs-on-Chair
· Lie on your back next to a wall. Knees are bent with feet flat on the floor, left side with buttocks and back of the legs against a wall.
· Carefully swing both legs up along the wall; buttocks are near the wall.
· Legs are parallel; feet are flexed toward you.
· Arms are on the floor in a V position, palms down.
· Stay in the pose for 1-2 minutes or longer. Come out if your feet feel numb or you feel “pins and needles” in your legs.
· If you prefer, buttocks can be about 1 inch away from the wall with legs resting at about a 90º degree angle.
· Place a chair or footstool at the end of the mat or blanket.
· Lie on your back with arms comfortably by your sides, palms up.
· Place backs of the calves and heels on the seat of the chair or footstool.
· Remain in this pose for as long as you wish, breathing deeply.
· Lie on your back with legs extended about hip-width apart. Feet may splay out to the sides.
· If you wish, place a bolster or rolled blanket under your knees and a folded towel or small pillow under your head. Arms are by your sides, palms up.
· Take a few deep, slow breaths.
· Identify a situation where you struggle to control the outcome. Open your heart and mind to the possibility of letting go.
· As you inhale, silently repeat, “I can…”
· As you exhale, silently repeat, “let go.”
· Continue for as long as you wish, repeating, “I can…let go.”
· Eventually allow the words to drift away as you focus on the in-breath and out-breath.
· Feel yourself becoming lighter with each deep inhalation, and growing calmer with every slow exhalation.
· Sense the burden of control lifting from your shoulders. Welcome acceptance and peace into your life.
· Remain in Savasana for as long as you wish.