Christmas yoga

Poses, breath and mantra

You probably have your own Christmas survival tips - here are a few things that work for me...whatever happens, be kind to yourself.

 

Poses

Start with 5 mins sitting or savasana – starting in this way helps us check in with the body and mind. How are you are today. Sometimes  when we rush, we can feel unsettled or injur ourselves. Starting off lying or sitting can help us switch to ‘being’ mode and then our body will let us know what’s good.  

 

Downward facing Dog is great pose for calming a sense of strenght and release. Just go into it gently, lifting out of the shoulders and hips up to the ceiling. Try it at the wall if you know that works better for you. Aim for ease and steadiness…breathe and enjoy. Visualise the spine strong and at ease. If you’re energised, then perhaps move between Downward dog and Child pose or Plank. How is it to hold the pose for a few breaths? Do what works for you.

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Cat cow – is a lovely way to wake up the spine – moving with the in and out breath. Visualise energy in the spine and gentle release as you move.

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Viparita Karani- legs up the wall/on a chair -  helping with insomnia, tired legs and generally restoring energy.

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Legs up the wall- can be done with or without a bolster. Please take the normal precautions with inversions (menstruation, eye & neck problems, high blood pressure).

·      Be warm and cosy. Sit next to the wall with one hip resting on the wall. Swing the legs up the wall. If you have tight hamstrings shuffle back away from the wall and bend the knees.

·      Rest your head on a thin blanket if you need to, cover yourself with a blanket, cover your eyes. When you're settled, allow the body to rest. Soften the belly, hips, throat and face. Stay and rest.  

·      Shuffle slowly back from the wall when you’re ready to come down and pause here for a few breaths. Don’t just straight up, take your time to come back to sitting. 

Twists – you can add a simple seated or lying twist to breathe into and release.

 

Savasana with support- 10 – 30 mins deep relaxation. Find a comfortable, warm place to lie down. Place a cushion under your head and a pillow or bolster under your knees to support your lower back.

 

Cover yourself with a blanket and cover your eyes. Allow the body to rest and feel the ground supporting you. Scan through the body slowly...then just rest and let the breath settle, the mind calm and the body relax. Smooth and gentle breaths. Don’t worry if the mind wanders, just bring it back to the body/breath and stay as long as you need to. 

 

Yoga Nidra works well while you’re in savasana- there are a few on vyoga.co.uk/resources.

 

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Body awareness – for calming and grounding

Simply coming back to an awareness of the body can help if you feel anxious or overwhelmed. And the great thing about this is that you can do it without anyone noticing. Either standing or sitting.

·      Start with awareness of your feet on the ground, perhaps press gently into the ground with your feet, feeling the outline.

·      Feel the weight of the feet and whether this is forward or towards the heels. See if you can come into balance in the centre of the foot.  

·      Take your awareness up your legs and back, notice the feel of any support beneath you… breathe into the belly softly. Take your awareness up the front of the body…continuing through the body softening the throat and face. Be aware of sensations in the whole body…feet on the ground. Let the breath be soft and even. And repeat when you need to.

Hands on the body to soothe and calm

·      Placing one or both hands on your belly, just breathe and feel the movement and warmth of the hands as you breathe. Soften into the sensations and stay here for a while.

OR

·      Place the right hand on the belly and left hand on the chest. Simply stay here and breathe. Feel the warmth of the hands and breath softly and smoothly. Perhaps repeat a heartfelt wish of your own, or you can use a simple statement such as ‘With great respect and love, I honour my heart, my inner teacher’*

*Shared by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli

 

 

Simple Om

Repeating the mantra Om can feel very grounding. Just by making this universal sound, feeling the vibrations in your body. If you’re unsure then utube can help.

Mantra for loving kindness
Repeating this to yourself silently and slowly can be very peaceful... you can also create your own phrases.

May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be well

May I be free from suffering and the causes of suffering
May I be at ease
May I be happy

Breath to centre and calm
Simply become aware of the breath and how the body moves with the breath. You can do this any time you like. Or you can take time out and rest with it.

·      Take a few natural breaths and then introduce a longer exhalation...

·      Try breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 7... after a few breaths let go of any counting and take your awareness to the body. Rest and relax.              

Enjoy, and let me know what works for you