Spending three to five minutes in just one yin pose may be exactly what you need to ground yourself,and relax. Butterfly Pose can help you get your yoga, even during your busiest or toughest days, leaving you energized, nurtured and refreshed! Butterfly Pose helps prevent or rid you of possible imbalances and it promotes proper functioning of the reproductive and urinary systems. It's also beneficial, especially if you have tight hamstrings, as it stretches the lower spine without straining them. Follow those steps to safely practice Butterfly Pose... 1. Come into a seated position on the floor, or on a soft padding, if you have tight hips or groins, and bring the soles of your feet together to touch, forming a diamond shape with your legs..... 2. Keeping the soles of your feet together, slide them away from your groins and fold forward resting your hands on your ankles, on your feet, or on the floor in front of you.... 3. Allow your back to round and relax your head towards your heels.... 4. Stay in the pose for 3-5 minutes breathing deeply through your nose, and staying mindful and observant of the sensations of the body, rising emotions and thoughts.... 5. To come out of the butterfly pose, use your hands to lift up and push the floor away from you. Then, lean back onto your hands and release your hips by bending the knees and straightening one leg at a time.... Variations of Butterfly Pose... If you have sciatica or lower back injuries, replace Seated Butterfly Pose with Lying Butterfly Pose. To get into Lying Butterfly pose, bring the soles of your feet together to touch, slide your feet away from your groins while keep the soles of your feet together, and then lie back on the floor with your hands on your abdomen... If you have knee injuries, place soft blocks or cushions under the knees while doing this pose...http://www.mindbodygreen.com/
This simple seated meditation focuses on the breath to calm the mind, body and emotions.
Sit in a comfortable position, either cross-legged on the floor or in a chair. Sit up tall with the spine straight, the shoulders relaxed and the chest open. Rest the hands on the knees with the palms facing up. Lightly touch the index finger to the thumb. Relax the face, jaw, and belly. Let the tongue rest on the roof of the mouth, just behind the front teeth. Allow the eyes to lightly close.
Breathe slowly, smoothly and deeply in and out through the nose. Let the inhale start in the belly and then rise gently up into the chest. As the breath slows and deepens, let go of any thoughts or distractions and allow the mind to focus on the breath. Feel the breath as it moves in and out of the body, feeling it move through the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. Feel the body as it rises and falls with each breath. Bring as much of your awareness and attention to your body and breath as possible with each moment. As the thoughts return to the mind, let them go, and return the focus back to the body and breath.
Practice this meditation for 10-20 minutes. To end, gently let the eyes blink open, inhale the palms together in front of the heart, exhale and gently bow. Take a moment or two before moving on with the rest of your day.
As compassionate human beings, we must journey through life with an open heart, and with spaciousness in our minds. Often, we find a wall boarded up so firmly that nothing can get in, and not much can get out. But there's a beautiful flow of energy, light, and love waiting to explode and swell from within your Anahata Chakra (heart center). To open it up, we must practice kindness, acceptance and joy. We must embrace all emotions, and recognize each of them as beautiful. The first step is to exercise this area, and open it, physically, with these three lovely asanas. 1. Ustrasana; Camel pose. Sitting lightly on your knees, straighten your spine and bring your arms up above your head. As you fold backwards, slowly bring your arms back behind you and reach for your heels. Grab hold, drop the crown of your head towards the earth, and create a subtle arch in your spine. Feel your ribs open, and your breath grow deep. Exhale fully, pushing all of the air out with your belly first, followed by your chest. Focus all of your energy on your Anahata Chakra, in the center of your chest, and imagine a beautiful emerald light beginning to grow and expand, as light as air. 2. Supta Virasana; Reclining Hero pose. Now, slowly lean backwards into the mat, easing yourself down onto your upper back. Be careful of your knees here, and grab a bolster or a blanket to support your lumbar if you feel you need it. Extend your arms out above your head, and let your palms touch each other, and your skin touch the ground. Breathe deeply into your belly ..your chest is completely open here. You're exposed. Embrace it! You can then bring your hands to your Anahata Chakra and splay your fingers like a blossoming flower. Invite all of the positive and loving energy in the world to flow through you, and flow out of you. You are a being of infinite love and light; don't forget it! The emerald glow in your ribs is growing now, steady and strong. It's always there, don't you see? Always flickering. It's your job to feed it with love, love, love. 3. Matsyasana. Fish pose. Finally, let your legs fully extend and relax. As you roll to each side, hide your arms, palms facing down, under your body. As you inhale, push down on your elbows and palms, and create a beautiful 'C' with your back. Drop the crown of your head to the mat, and close your eyes. Engage your thighs slightly, and point your toes down. Breathe deeply into your ribs ..feel your heart expand, swell and explode with absolute bliss and adoration for all living things! As always, end your practice with gratitude...http://www.mindbodygreen.com/
You do not have to be an advanced yoga practitioner to learn how to begin a yoga practice at home. This basic routine combines a four-part sequence and a few basic poses to give you an all-over stretch that is quick, easy, and effective. Sun salutation is a popular yoga sequence because it stretches the entire body, but it can be intimidating for beginners. This ocean salutation is a simpler version that uses a wave-like motion and combines Cat-cow, Up-dog, and Child’s Pose. 1. Begin in modified Child’s Pose, with legs folded on your mat and arms reaching out in front of you. Think of this pose as home base for this yoga sequence. 2. Inhale and use your breath to curve your spine up like a Halloween cat. 3. Exhale and move your hands a little farther away from your body, as you slowly lower your hips to your mat and come into up-dog. 4. Inhale to the full pose, curving your face and chest up. 5. Exhale and push back to the original modified Child’s Pose. 6. If your knees hurt, roll the mat slightly under your knees for a little extra padding. 7. Move through the cycle a few times. 8. When you feel comfortable, repeat the cycle twice more with your eyes closed. 9. When you’ve finished, rest for a few breaths in Child’s Pose. Now use the warmth in your body for a few basic stretches, starting with Forward Fold. 1. Sit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. 2. Inhale to lengthen your spine. 3. Exhale as you reach your chest toward your toes. 4. Breathe fully and pull your shoulders back away from your ears. Keep your spine straight and tall. 5. If you’re ready for a more advanced stretch, let your chest melt into your legs and interlace your fingers around your feet. 6. Once you reach a location where you feel challenged but not uncomfortable, hold for three breaths. 7. Inhale to sit up with a long, straight spine. After Forward Fold, Plank and Table make good counter-stretches. Start with a reversed plank. 1. From a sitting position, lay your palms on the mat behind your back, with fingers wide and pointing toward the hips. 2. Open your shoulders and peel your shoulder blades back. 3. Open your throat and point your toes, finding energy in your legs. 4. Press your hands and feet into the floor to rise to an inclined plane. 5. If the Reverse Plank is too intense, walk your feet under your knees to come into table pose. 6. Inhale and press the ground away with your hands and feet. 7. For an advanced option, lift one leg off the ground. Explore movement such as lifts or circles. 8. Let your table lean by bending your knees forward and lowering the sacrum (bone above the tailbone) toward your heels. 9. Lower down to your forearms, open your chest and tilt your head back. 10. Exhale and slowly let your back release down to the mat. From there, move into Bridge Pose. 1. Press your feet into the floor and inhale to rise. 2. Pulse to add dynamic motion, if desired. 3. Come into the full expression of the pose, or a supported version if that’s more comfortable. 4. Stay for three breaths. 5. Slowly lower yourself with a count of ten. Your core should be engaged and working to bring you back down to the mat. 6. Shift your knees from side to side for a gentle spinal twist. 7. Take your gaze in the opposite direction of your knees. 8. Roll back onto your back. Lower your legs and rest in Savasana for at least two or three minutes. 9. Feel your breath reach all the corners of your body. Start your day with a yoga warm-up to feel stretched and energized. A few basic poses and one simple sequence are all you need to start your yoga journey at home.
An All-Around Yoga Exercise: 12-Step Salute to the Sun..
One of the all-around yoga exercises is the 12-step salute to the sun. Do it once or twice when you get up in the morning to help relieve stiffness and invigorate the body. Multiple repetitions at night will help you to relax..
1. Stand with your feet slightly apart, palms together, thumbs against your chest.
2. Inhale deeply while slowly raising your hands over your head, and bend back as far as possible, while tightening your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.
3. Slowly exhale and bend forward, keeping your knees straight, until your fingers touch the floor outside your feet. (If you can't touch the floor, go as close as you can.) Bring your head in toward your knees.
4. Slowly inhale, bend your knees, and if your fingertips aren't outside your feet on the floor, place them there. Slide your right foot back as far as you can go, with the right knee an inch or so off the floor, (a lunge position). Now look up as high as possible, arching your back.
5. Before exhaling again, slide your left foot back until it is beside the right one, and with your weight supported on your palms and toes, straighten both legs so that your body forms a flat plane. Make sure your stomach is pulled in.
6. Slowly exhale, bend both knees to the floor, bend with your hips in the air, lower your chest and forehead to the floor.
7. Now inhale slowly and look up, bending your head back, then raising it, followed by your upper chest, then lower chest. Your lower body - from the navel down - should be on the floor, and your elbows should be slightly bent. Hold for three to five seconds.
8. Exhale slowly and raise your hips until your feet and palms are flat on the floor and your arms and legs are straight in an inverted V position.
9. Inhale slowly and bring your right foot forward as in position 4. The foot should be flat on the floor between your fingertips. The left leg should be almost straight behind you, with its knee slightly off the floor. Raise your head, look up, and arch your back.
10. Slowly exhale and bring your left foot forward next to your right one. Straighten your legs and stand, trying to keep your fingertips on the floor, and try to touch your head to your knees as in position 3.
11. Slowly inhale, raise your arms up and stretch back as in position 2. Don't forget to tighten your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.
12. Slowly exhale, lowering your arms to your sides. Relax. Repeat the series...http://fiercesimplicity.com/
When you are in the midst of your day and your mind is restless or disturbed, doing this simple movement meditation can create an immediate shift in conciousness, enabling you to bring greater awareness and peace into the world around you.This meditation can be done while seated or standing. To begin, bring your hands together at your heart.Take a moment to become receptive by shifting from thinking mind to listening mind. Scan your body and mind and ask yourself how you are feeling. Take note of the answer (scattered, irritated, tired, excited) without investing or analyzing the content.
Now, on an inhalation, draw your arms overhead from the roots of your feet. Coordinate your breath with the movement so that at the top of your inhalation, your hands come together overhead. As you exhale, draw your arms down the center line of your spine so that your arms rest beside your hips when you complete your exhalation.
Repeat this rhythm, drawing upward on the inhalation and downward on the exhalation for as long as it feels appropriate, probably somewhere between three to five minutes. Concentrate on merging your breath and movement and being present every moment.
Notice as your movement and breath start to syncopate that your internal state begins to shift. As your breath slows down with the grace of your movement, feel your inner balance returning. When you feel a natural urge to end, take one last cycle with the arms and then draw your hands together at your heart. Take a few moments of to quietly reflect before returning to the movements of your life, more centered and enlivened by your movement meditation.http://www.yogajournal.com/
Use this sequence to calm your nerves after a stressful day..Mountain pose-
This pose helps keep you in focus and places awareness on your feet being connected to the floor, which is very grounding-
1. Stand straight with your feet together.
2. Spread your toes out like a fan.
3. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
4. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.
5. Move your thighs back and tailbone in.
6. Straighten the arms, palms facing in.
7. Pull your shoulder blades back and lift the chest.
8. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
9. Look straight ahead.
Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Focus points: Don't just stand passively! Activate every part of your body, from your heels to your head.
Other benefits: Strengthens and tones the whole body. Improves alignment. Creates balance. Upward hand pose-
Not only is this standing pose good for relieving tension in the back, but it will give you a sense of lightness in life.
1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
2. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.
3. Roll your shoulders back.
4. Extend the arms forward and lift up.
5. Straighten elbows, wrists and fingers.
6. Relax neck and shoulders.
7. Keep your head straight and look forward.
Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
Focus points: Activate elbows on fingers and really open the chest.
Other benefits: Alleviates stiff shoulders and arms. Releases tension in the upper back.. Upward facing dog-
Chest-opening poses like this lift your spirits and help calm jittery nerves and agitation....1. Lie on your stomach.
2. Bend elbows and place palms by your side (just below the breast).
3. Leading with chest and crown of the head lift upper body off the floor.
4. Press hands down firmly. Lift chest to ceiling, bring hips forward.
5. Lift hips off floor. Keep thighs strong.
6. Bring shoulder blades into back and open the chest.
7. Release your head back and look up.
Hold for 5 to 15 seconds.
Focus points: Keep thighs strong and knees lifted off floor. Bring shoulder blades in and open the chest.
Other benefits: Great for sciatic pain. Builds stamina. Strengthens arms and chest. Loosens stiff shoulders......http://www.prevention.com/
Yoga is a great regulator of the nervous system. The next time you are tossing and turning in bed, try the following five simple poses to calm you down and prepare your body and mind for a restful nights sleep.
1. Uttanasana .. standing forward fold..Forward bends are instant calmers for our nervous system. Uttanasana can be performed anywhere and there are no additional props required.
Step by step instructions:
standing up, with your feet hip-width apart (same distance as two fists) slightly bend your knees
hold each elbow with a hand
relax your head
with every exhale draw the crown of the head more towards the floor, bending your knees as much as it is necessary to keep that length in your spine
stay here for 10 to 15 deep breaths
to come up, slowly release your arms and rise slowly, rising your head the last to avoid any possible dizziness..2. Baddha Konasana .. bound angle pose..This simple seated position stretches inner thighs, groin and knees, helping release any tension and fatigue from long hours of sitting on a chair, standing or walking.
Step by step instructions:
sitting on a blanket with your legs straight out in front of you, bend your knees and drop them to the sides so that the sole of your feet face each other
pull your heels towards your pelvis
you can grasp your big toe with your first and second finger and thumb or hold your ankles or shins if this is not available to you
you can stay in this pose for a couple of minutes
to come out,, lift your knees away from the floor, and extend the legs in front of you again..
3. Balasana .. childs pose...Balasana is heavily used during yoga classes as it helps to calm the mind as well as release the tension held in the body.
Step by step instructions:
place your knees on the floor
place your feet together and separate your knees
with an exhale, lower your body down in between your knees
rest the forehead on the floor
your arms can remain relaxed alongside your body or extended or by the sides
stay here for at least 15 deep breaths
to come up, place your hands beside your knees with palms facing down and slowly rise. To avoid any possible dizziness, your head should be the last one to rise
4. Viparita Karani .. legs-up-the-wall pose..For this pose, you will just need a wall and a blanket.
Step by step instructions:
sit as close to the wall as possible (with the wall on your side and your legs forming a 90 degree with the wall)
fold the blanket and lay it on the floor (it will be supporting your spine)
lie on the blanket
get even closer to the wall
send your legs up the wall
rest your arms alongside your body
stay here for at least 3 minutes
slowly lower your legs down..5. Savasana .. corpse pose...In preparation for bed, end the sequence lying down in your Savasana.
lie down on your back
separate your legs, allowing your toes to fall to the sides
place your arms alongside your body with your palms up
close your eyes
relax your face
breath into the pose relaxing every part of your body
You can improve your sleep with just one pose.. Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani). This asana is considered a restorative, gentle inversion and though it's usually practiced at the end of a yoga class, it can be helpful on its own to relax the body.
And when you're able to relax the body, it becomes easier to relax the mind, setting the stage for more restful sleep. Practice Legs-Up-The-Wall at night before getting into bed, or in the middle of the night when sleep is elusive. Add in some gentle breathing and the effects are even better! This pose can be practiced by beginners and beyond.
Getting Into Legs-Up-The-Wall
Sit sideways with your right side against the wall. Exhale and gently swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. Coming into this pose may take some practice. Your sitting bones dont need to be right against the wall, depending on the tightness of your hamstrings. Experiment with the position until you find the placement that works for you.
This pose is not intended to stretch the backs of the legs, so if you feel pulling in the hamstrings move farther away from the wall. Keep the lower back grounded to the floor. Make a small roll with a hand towel to place under your neck if the cervical spine at the base of your neck feels too flat. Open your shoulder blades away from your spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. If you struggle to keep your legs upright, take a yoga strap or something similar and place it around your legs just below the knees and gently tighten to hold the legs up right, allowing you to further relax into the pose. Gently close and soften your eyes, then scan the body. Soften into any tightness you find along the way.
Incorporate Equal Breathing
You can deepen your experience and the calming effect of this pose by focusing on the breath. Begin by placing one hand on the lower belly and one hand over the heart, expand your awareness to include the natural rhythms of your breath....Once comfortable here, begin to take slow, gentle and deep inhales and exhales, without forcing and straining. Try to make the length of the exhales match your inhales. Equal breathing is said to create a balance of the flow of consciousness, smoothing fluctuations of the mind into stillness.
Stay in this pose for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, allowing your breath to return to normal for the last few minutes. Stay present with the sense of calm and equanimity that this pose brings. When you are ready to come out, bend your knees halfway toward your chest and roll to one side. Use your arms to help you sit up, moving slowly and mindfully.
Other Benefits & Disclaimers
Performing quiet, restorative poses can help calm your body and mind relieving stress and anxiety. ...http://www.mindbodygreen.com/
Try one (or all three) of the following yoga exercises to even out your emotional energies. All you will need is a few minutes and a quiet place to yourself. Seated Hip Circles to reconnect with your center Choose a quiet space and find a comfortable seat. You can either sit with legs crossed on the floor (or a blanket or pillow) or sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Place hands, palms facing down, on top of the knees. Close your eyes. Sit in stillness to take a moment to connect with your breath. If this feels like a challenge, count 1-2-3 for each inhale and 3-2-1 for each exhale. Stay connected to the breath as you begin to make circles with the upper body. Inhale and swing the hips and torso over the left, drawing a half-circle as you rock back, dip the chin, and round the spine. Exhale and swing the hips and torso over to the right to complete the circle as you lift the chin and chest and lean forward. Inhale and draw a half-circle to the left, and exhale completing the circle on the right. Repeat these movements for 1-2 minutes. Think of it as drawing a counter-clockwise circle around your seat. Switch to a clockwise rotation and repeat for another set of 1-2 minutes. Feel free to bend the elbows or lean back, up, or over as much as you would like. These movements should feel good to your body. Sun Breaths to let go of what is not serving you Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with the big toes touching and the heels slightly apart (or keep the feet parallel and hip-width distance apart). Feel the weight in the heel and the ball of each foot evenly. Allow the arms to rest down at your sides. One complete Sun Breath: Inhale and extend the arms all the way out to the sides. Imagine you are scooping up all the air as you reach the fingertips up toward the sky. Exhale and swan dive forward, bringing the hands down as you fold at the waist into Uttanasana (Forward Fold). Let the knees bend if the hamstrings are tight. Inhale and lift the torso up to a flat back and rest the hands on the shins. Keep the back of the neck long and the lower belly engaged to support a healthy spine. Exhale and fold back down to Uttanasana. Inhale and reach the arms out to the sides and up, fingertips reaching tall as you look up. Exhale and bring the palms together and draw them down in front of your heart. Practice 3-5 Sun Breaths, initiating each inhale and exhale before the movement of the body. You can close your eyes and imagine that you are swimming or flying through the air. Alternate Nostril Breathing to balance your inner energy channels. Choose a quiet space and find a comfortable seat. You can either sit with legs crossed on the floor (or a blanket or pillow) or sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Sit with a tall spine. Left hand: Bring the index finger and thumb to touch. Extend the other three fingers and place the back of the hand on the left knee. Right hand: Reach the tips of the index finger and middle finger up to the space between the eyebrows . Place the ring finger and the little finger on the left side of the nose. Place the thumb on the right side the nose. (The right hand controls the breathing in and out of each nostril for this exercise). One complete round of breath: Close the left nostril and inhale through the right for 1-2-3 Close both nostrils and retain (hold the breath) the inhale for 3-2-1 Release the left nostril and exhale for 1-2-3 Release the right and retain the exhale for 3-2-1 Close the right nostril and inhale through the left for 1-2-3 Close both and retain the inhale for 3-2-1 Release the right and exhale for 1-2-3 Release both and retain for 3-2-1 Practice for 5-10 complete rounds of breath. You can increase the count to a 4-count or 6-count breath if you feel comfortable. Try to keep the breaths even. You may start to feel light-headed or like you are floating toward the end thats a yoga high.Allow this to happen, as it is the natural occurrence when we use pranayama (breath work) to balance the energetic channels within our body.... BY JANNA LEYDE