Yoga Practices to help you ground and relax.


1/ Standing in Mountain pose - you can do this anywhere at home, at work or when you are out and about. Standing with your feet facing forward and hip width apart ( approx 2 fists distance between your knees and feet - (you can bring the feet together too if you wish but keeping a small space between the feet and can bring a more stable feeling for many people) Stand up tall, all your bones from the crown of your head down to your feet, stacking naturally on top of each other. Feel your spine lengthening, shoulders softening. Hips facing forward. Arms by your side. There is slight engagement of your muscles of the legs and torso but without over hardening, so that the breath can flow freely through you. Feel the weight of your leg bones feeding into the earth as you exhale. Whilst gently pressing equally into the balls and heels of both feet, feel the support that your legs ankles and feet give you and allow your spine and torso to extend upwards from this support. As we give our weight to the earth there is a rebounding upward force that rises through the legs. Just like a mountain, feel tall, spacious and grounded. Stay here for 10 mindful breaths or longer. I often do this in my West Hampstead Yoga practise.

2/

Bring both hands into Bhu Mudra - Sit / kneel on the floor on a block / cushions or low seat ( or you can do this on a chair bringing your fingers onto a surface - low table either side or cushions or other chair seats) Curl your little fingers and run fingers comfortably toward the palms of your hands and place your thumbs on top of them . Extend your middle and index fingers out into a " v " shape. Touch the tips of the middle and index fingers firmly to the earth, out to the sides of the body so that the arms form a triangular shape with your head as a peak / summit. Relax your shoulders with the spine naturally aligned. As you focus on your breath, visualise your body as a mountain with your legs and your seat as the base, your arms the sides stretching out to the sides and the crown of your head as the mountain peak rising into the sky. Tune into the ground beneath you and the earth's natural stability and serenity here. Take several breaths here and then gently release.

I often teach this too in my in person and online yoga classes.

3/

Lie down in Savasana / final resting pose - listen to a 3.5 minute guided relaxation recording by clicking here - (this recording is via drop box)

Lie on the floor, on your back, stretching both legs out. Lay your arms by your side, with your palms facing up to the ceiling, or if it feels more comfortable and your chest feels more open then come onto the edge of your hands, your palms facing inwards, a few inches away from your body. You may find placing a soft towel or low cushion (or block or book) under your head works for you to make yourself even more comfortable and if you have any lower back discomfort, then try placing a pillow underneath your knees. Close your eyes and soften the gaze behind your eyelids, letting your eyes sink into the backs of their sockets. With each out breath, feel your body surrendering to the floor, just breathing naturally as it happens, without trying to follow any pattern.

If possible, try and stay awake, but if you fall asleep don't worry. Put on some relaxing music if you wish, cover yourself up with a blanket, and set a timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes with a gentle alarm to let you know when the time is up. If you only have time to practise one posture every day, and your main purpose of starting a yoga practise is to find a way to relax, then this is the one that i recommend.

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