Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Readers Request Part Two: Asana Sequences for Less Stress

here's a great sequence to start your day with if you're feeling anxious or have something coming up that's causing you some stress.  allow your twists to ring out tension your body is holding and shoulder openers to deepen your breath and open your heart.

warm up
*start with a few alternating deep shoulder rolls
*interlace your fingers behind your back, fold forward over the legs and stretch the hands to the sky
*release the hands down to the mat while staying in your forward fold, stretch through the backs of the legs and allow the head to hang while visualizing your anxiety pouring out of your body

make your way down to your mat
~draw your legs to one side of your body, allow the opposite hand to come to the knee and wrap the other hand around your lower back to twist and open up the shoulders - Repeat on other side

~pull legs underneath you and release into child's pose. touch the big toes together, press the knees out to the side and slide the arms forward or backward as you lay your belly between the knees

~now stretch the arms out while keeping the forhead on the ground and lifting hips to the sky
~stretch the legs straight while keeping the forearms on the ground and focus on this deep shoulder opener
~come back to child's pose and than slide out onto your belly.  bend your legs into your body, grab your feet and kick them into your hands to open up your back and shoulders- breathe deeply
~release back onto your belly and keep your feet in the air, rock them side to side to relax the back.  then draw all the way down onto the belly flat on your mat. close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply into the belly, as if your in-breath will imprint your belly button into the mat.  concentrate on this deep breathing and feeling the belly press into the mat.  hold here for 8-10 breaths.

enjoy this quick, invigorating sequence to open up the shoulders, relieve stress and anxiety and help yourself relax a bit. the inversions bring a sense of calm so if that feels good, hang deeply in your standing forward bend and take time to enjoy your child's pose.

all images from yoga journal 
always consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine

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