Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
One of the most well-known yoga poses, Downward facing dog, is a mild inversion which offers an ultimate strengthening and rejuvenation for the whole body. This posture stimulates the brain and nervous system, improving memory and concentration and helps to relieve stress and mild depression. It also helps us connect with our inner self
1. From tabletop position, spread the fingers wide and press them firmly on the mat.
2. Lift the knees off the floor and send the hips up high. You can keep a micro-bend in the knees and the heels lifted away from the floor.
3. Firm the legs and straighten the knees without locking them. If your lower back rounds, keep your knees bent. Roll the upper thighs inward slightly and lengthen the spine.
4. Lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Imagine a line from your hips, down the legs, into the feet and grounding into the earth. Simultaneously, an energy line shoots from the hips, down the back, neck and arms and into the earth through the hands. Let your head hang down between your arms in the natural extension of your spine.
5. Focus on the details of your inhale and exhale, allowing your body to respond to your breath. Concentrate on your third eye and draw the senses inward as you hold this position.
Pachimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold
Stretch the vulnerable backside of your entire body from heels to head with forward fold. The spinal cord is stretched and space is created between the vertebras which increase blood circulation to all the nerves and soothes the nervous system. It helps also to open your hips and hamstrings, strengthens your digestive fire and creates a state of inner calm and encourages introspection to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
- Sit with legs extended. On exhale, begin to come forward, hinging at the hips.
- On each inhale, lengthen the spine. You may come a bit out of your forward bend to do this.
- On each exhale, deepen into the forward bend. Imagine belly coming to rest on thighs, rather than nose to the knees. This will help you keep the spine long.
- Keep the neck as the natural extension of the spine, neither cranking it to look up nor letting it go completely.
- Take hold of the ankles or shins, whichever you can reach. You can also use a strap around your feet or micro-bend your knees, if your back rounds. Keep the feet flexed strongly throughout. Breath deeply and hold 3-5min.
Legs up the wall – Viparita Karani
This gentle inversion is a passive, supported and deeply relaxing variation of the Shoulderstand. This refreshes the legs, tired knees and the reproductive area. It also gives blood circulation a gentle boost toward the upper body and head, which creates a pleasant rebalancing after you have been standing or sitting for a long time. If you are stressed, fatigued, or jet-lagged, this pose is especially refreshing. It teaches us experientially that positive results can come from doing less, not more. you are practicing the polar opposite of activity, which is receptivity. This will reduce nervousness, relieve sleep problems and boost digestion.
- Lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as is comfortable for you.
- Extend your legs up the wall, so that the backs of your legs are resting fully against it.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply while your legs rest against the wall. Relax the body. For the most benefit, practice this pose for at least 10-15 min, but even just hanging out for a minute or two will suffice.
In more therapeutic variations of this posture, you may have blocks under your hips to elevate them, creating a slight inversion in your lower belly, and a strap securing your legs together so that you can fully relax and release into the pose, without having to exert effort to hold your legs up.
Abdominal twist – Jathara Parivartanasana
Abdominal twist rejuvenates and re-energizes the body by stimulating the vital organs around the spine, relieves stress and fatigue and lengthens and realigns the spine. Reclining twists releases the tensions and emotions that we carry in our back body, especially the shoulders and lower back. When we worry, we tend to close our chest and round our back. This asana quietly nourishes the stomach and spleen
and helps to stimulate and release the tightness of the back body muscles and the spine.
- Lie on your back, bring your arms out to the sides with the palms facing down in a T position. Bend both knees into the chest.
- Drop both knees over to the left side of your body, twisting the spine and lower back. Stack the knees on top of each others or place a cushion in between the knees. Look at the right finger tips.
- Keep the shoulders flat to the floor, close the eyes, and relax face muscles. Let gravity pull the knees down or gently press down with hand, so you do not have to use any effort in this posture. Stay 3-5 minutes and repeat the other side.