Tough day? We totally get it.
Work, family, health, finances, politics….it all gets a bit much doesn’t it.
Although we can’t promise to solve all your issues in one article, we can offer some help in the form of restorative yoga postures and calming breathing techniques in order to create some balance and relaxation for your mind and body.
Whether you take a few minutes to step out of the office or can find a bit of time to practice them at home before you start your day, we really hope you find these three little exercises helpful….
Simple abdominal breathing
The next time you’re feeling anxious or things are getting a bit out of control, stand still for a moment, sit down, or even lay down if this is available for you to do.
Begin to inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. As you inhale you should notice your belly expand outwards and your chest rise slightly upwards.
Now, exhale slowly through your mouth, and as you blow out, bring your lips together as if you were about to whistle. Let the air slowly slip out of your lips as you hear a soft ‘whirring’ sound.
Repeat for several minutes until you start to feel your heart rate slowing down and your anxious mind clearing out a little.
It might help to count the inhales and exhales – starting with inhale for 1, exhale for 1, and then building your way up to the count of 8 or even 10. The slower and deeper you can get your breathe, the calmer you will feel.
Alternate nostril breathing
Alternate nostril breathing is a yogic breathing practice that is also known as nadi shodhana in Sanskrit. A firm favourite with lots of our Go Yoga teachers in Harrogate, alternate nostril breathing can help to quiet and still your mind, as well as allowing you to regain a sense of balance and clarity.
If you have a million thoughts flying around in your head, then this breathing practice could help you to be more mindful of the current moment and focus less on the past/the future.
Studies have shown that regular practice of nadi shodhana can significantly lower health indicators such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, which can all be affected by stress and anxiety.
Start by sitting comfortably or standing if this suits you better. Raise your right hand towards your face and exhale completely. Before your next inhale, use your right thumb to cover your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril and then cover your left nostril with your little finger (or the next one along if easier?) while releasing your thumb from your right nostril. Inhale from your right nostril and then cover it with your thumb. Exhale through the left nostril. This is one complete cycle.
Continue alternating for about 20 breaths or until you begin to feel a little more lifted and energised.
Child’s Pose is our favourite place of rest in yoga. We use it to calm our heart rate down in a vigorous Hot Vinyasa class and in between asanas that we find challenging.
As well as encouraging a flow of steady breathing through the nose, Child’s Pose also helps to ease any tension that you might have stored up in your neck and shoulders – a common symptom for those of us who suffer with stress.
Start on all fours with both of your big toes touching. As you take a deep exhale, sink your bottom backwards so that it moves towards your heels, keeping your knees as wide as feels comfortable for you. Your stomach will naturally rest down on your thighs and your forehead will fall gently down towards the ground.
Your arms can either extend over your head with your palms faced down towards the floor or you can keep them by your sides, palms up with your fingers pointing towards your feet.
Keep breathing naturally and hold this pose for a minimum of ten breaths. Then slowly use your hands to walk your torso forward and back up into all fours.