Six yoga poses and stretches to help you feel grounded and relaxed
Reaching a state of relaxation may be more difficult than it was over a year ago. That doesn’t mean being relaxed and grounded is not possible anymore, it just means that you might need to get a little more creative with your methods.
Gravenhurst yoga teacher and owner of Lifestyle by Design Studio, Danielle Ryan, says “yoga helps the body to unlearn stress patterns so that we can feel safe in our world.”
Safety? In our world? With everything going on? Sign me up, please!
In five to ten minutes of easy, and I mean easy yoga poses and stretches, you can calm your nervous system to a state of safety. Yes, it is possible even during this chaotic world we’re living in today.
“Stressful experiences are both the storm brewing in the mind and the pain saturating the body. Through yoga we can learn to separate ourselves from the experience,” says Ryan. “By practicing stillness, we learn to reduce stress by doing nothing at all.”
Stillness. That’s what these yoga poses, and stretches are about: finding those juicy, still moments connecting your mind and body. Slowing down the racing thoughts and heart palpitations. Developing a deeper breath, caressing you further into a state of calm.
Before getting into the poses, I feel compelled to say this. If you’re new to yoga, you’re in the right place. I know trying something new can be uncomfortable and even daunting. Especially now, when everything feels uncertain and you’re constantly launched into the unknown. By the way, we’re already friends if you thought of the Frozen 2 song Into the Unknown. But I digress . . . find that little bit of courage that undoubtedly exists within you and simply do number one. Evaluate how that feels and then try number two, and so on. You got this!
Lay on your back somewhere comfortable, like a yoga mat, a couch or a bed, and that’s it. This is an intentional practice and an effective one at that. Play some calming music, if that’s your thing, and close your eyes. Void yourself of distractions. Allow your feet to land wherever is natural for them. Let go of rigidity and enjoy what this pose has to offer.
- Supine twist
While laying on your back, use your hands to gingerly guide one knee to the opposite side of your body while the other leg stays stretched out. Only go as far as your body wants to go. Tune in and pay attention to what your body is communicating to you. Discomfort is a sign that you’ve gone a little further than your body can handle at this time. Take deep breaths and move on to the next leg. I recommend looking up the twist for more guidance.
- Reclined butterfly
Continuing on your back, bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to carefully land outward. Listen to your body. If this is an uncomfortable pose, simply make modifications to make it easier on your body. The aim is to get into a state of relaxation. That can’t happen when your body is protesting the poses that you’re trying to fit it into. You’ll know when you’re doing it right according to your body. Give yourself permission to relax.
- Wide-leg child’s post or traditional child’s pose
One of my favourites and one I continue to come to during yoga practices or whenever I need a time-out. In this pose, you’re facing the ground with your knees underneath you and legs spread apart. You can stretch your arms our above you on the ground or wherever feels most comfortable. Again, I recommend doing a quick Google search to see what the pose looks like.
- Legs up the wall
The first few seconds of trying this might feel strange. But quickly after, you’ll see why this is so beneficial. To start, lay down on your back with your bum right up to the edge of the wall – where the wall and ground meet. Stretch your legs up the wall and shimmy your bum as close to the wall as you can get. You can let your arms splay out on either side of you. Take it all in, baby.
- Hanging ragdoll
This is the only standing pose, and even then, you’re bent down at the waist. Stand with your feet gently apart and slowly bend down. Bend your arms and hold your elbows. Give yourself a minute to land in this pose. Drop your head and any need you have to maintain a certain structure with your body. Let go. You can move your elbows side-to-side if you need some movement.
By Leila Nasr-Sharifi, for HuntersBayRadio.com
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