By Wendy Methvin, Jiva Yoga Instructor, RYT 200
Relax. The word itself can bring an immediate sense of calm, or oppositely, an awareness that you’re NOT relaxed! Ultimately, we all like the idea of relaxing because it often means you’re not stressed, nothing’s pulling on you, you’re in a calm state of mind, and you’re whole self is at ease.
How do we relax when we live in a world of perpetual motion? Our lives are constantly assaulted with “to do’s” – check social media, follow up on texts or emails, make or keep appointments, go places, do things. It can fill our minds and stress our bodies. Here’s some good news - yoga can help!
Whether you can easily relax if just given the chance, or you struggle to be still, practicing yoga will lead you to relaxation. Carve out some time, about 5 minutes, and take a mini-vacation to destination relaxation. Find a quiet spot where you can place your mat upon the floor. Plan to be in each sequence for about 10-12 breaths.
Begin in Easy Seat. Close your eyes. Notice your breath coming in and out through your nose.
Next, open your eyes and come into Cow and Cat, matching your breath with your poses. Inhale Cow. Exhale Cat. Move slowly, letting the full expression of breath happen in each pose. Repeat five times.
Make your way to Rag Doll. Let your upper body soften, as your legs begin to straighten. Send your sit bones upward and let gravity gently draw the crown of your head to the earth, parallel to the floor. Stay for five breaths in, and five breaths out.
Open your stance to Wide Leg Forward Fold. Breathe with intention, matching the length of your inhale to the length of your exhale. Breathe five breaths and heel – toe your legs together. Come to seated, return to Easy Seat.
Now bring the soles of your feet together and make your way to Reclined Bound Angle. Close your eyes. Bring your hands to rest upon your belly. As you inhale, feel the belly rise and say to yourself, “I am calm.” As you exhale, feel the belly naturally contract, and say to yourself “I am peaceful.” Repeat three more times. Draw your knees back together, wrap your arms around your bent legs and come make yourself small. Tuck your nose toward your knees. Breathe slowly, again 5 times each breath. With gentleness let your head return to the floor, then unwrap your arms and come to Corpse Pose. Resist any disruption be it physical (an itch) or mental (a thought that takes you away from the moment). Follow your breath. Count in your mind up to ten and then back to zero. It will lead you down the pathway to deep, restful relaxation. Try these simple sequences any time of day to set the stage for a complete mind-body-spirit relaxation. You’ll come away feeling refreshed and relaxed. Namaste.
Wendy Methvin is a certified yoga instructor with Jiva Yoga Center, writer, and owner of Yoga with Wendy