Yoga for Relaxation
We all need a little relaxation in our lives. A moment to step away from all that keeps us busy, to remove distraction and be still.
No, not at all. Life is full of distractions and things to occupy your mind. Even as I write this I’m drawn to my phone as another notification pings. A message that doesn’t need my immediate attention but still draws me in, takes my focus and has my mind whirring off in another direction.
Imagine if you could remove those distractions for just a short while. To come to a place of rest and relaxation, without needing to move far, or change into fancy active wear. I have a yoga pose for you that will do just that.
Now before you screw your nose up and tell me “I can’t do Yoga, I’m not flexible enough” let me give you some reassurance, Yoga is for everyone (honestly). You don’t need to be uber flexible to practice it and Yoga is especially good for helping with relaxation.
Still not buying it?
Ok, bear with me on this.
Yoga, in a nutshell, is a mind and body practice, focussing on movement, breathwork and meditation. There are many different types of yoga, some more physical than others, but in essence Yoga is about coming to the mat (or floor) connecting inwards, being present and in the moment.
So let me share one of my favourite yoga poses with you and see what effect it has.
The pose I’m going to share and invite you to try is called “Legs up the wall” (Viparita Karani). This is a pose I regularly incorporate into my own yoga practice and share with my yoga students, family and friends.
This pose will help to refresh your legs and calm your mind. If you have been sitting at a desk or on your feet for most of the day this is a perfect way to transition out of your day and into your evening. If you find it difficult to switch off at night, this pose is a great way to help you calm, relax and improve sleep.
Let’s give it a go …
– Find a space in your office/home where you have a clear wall and space on the floor
– Place a mat or blanket on the floor next to the wall
– Sit down and bring your hips closer to the wall
– Stretch your legs straight up the wall with heels against the wall and toes pointing out
– Adjust your position by scooting your tailbone towards the wall until you are comfortable
– If you find it difficult to get your legs up the wall, turn sideways to the wall and then gently swing your legs up the wall
– Arms can rest by your side or above your head holding opposite elbows
– If you need extra support for your lower back, place a cushion/bolster under your hips
– Or alternatively, if you have lower back problems you can rest your legs on a chair or sofa at 90 degrees instead of the wall
– Settle into the pose, focus in on your breath. If you can, breathe in and out through your nostrils. Stay here for 5-10 minutes. If you find your mind drifting back to work or your to-do list, bring your back to your breath.
– To come out of the pose bend your knees and roll to your side. To come up to seated push using the strength of your arms. Gently come to standing.
Before carrying on with your day, take a moment to reflect on how you now feel. How does your body feel? What sensations did you notice? How relaxed are you compared to before?
Simply taking a few minutes out of your busy day to come to stillness, focus in on your breath and connect to your body, you can be in Yoga and reap the relaxing benefits of doing this. Now that’s time well invested. Enjoy!
Jo (Riches) Stuart has been practising yoga for over 15 years and qualified as a Yoga Teacher in 2020 teaching Vinyasa and Yin yoga. Jo regularly incorporates elements of yoga into her coaching work, particularly breath and relaxation, to help clients manage stress and anxiety and overcome work-based challenges.
Written by Jo Stuart – Ayres Consulting