The past few months I’ve been focusing much of my home practice on deep stretches and relaxation. Maybe it’s me subconsciously prepping for labor, I don’t know. It has, however, been a lovely change of pace as I embrace my changing body. The sequence I wanted to share today is one that is perfect when relief from anxiety or daily stress is a must. Enjoy!
* Childs pose: Begin by sitting on your heels with your big toes touching. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips and nestle your torso between your inner thighs. Extend your arms out in front of you, releasing the front of your shoulders down toward the floor and flattening your shoulder blades wide across your back. Allow your forehead to drop to the floor and relax through your neck.
* Extended puppy: As you exhale, raise your hips toward the ceiling (directly above your knees) and walk your hands a little further out in front of you. Make sure to keep a slight curve in your lower back and your elbows raised up from the ground. Press your hands into the mat and fully stretch through your arms.
* Dolphin: Release your forearms to the floor and curl your toes underneath you. As you exhale, lift your knees away from the floor, straighten your legs, and raise your hips toward the ceiling. Continue to press your forearms actively into the floor, holding your head between your upper arms.
* Big toe pose: As you inhale, lift your forearms off the ground and move through downward facing dog, stepping your feet up to meet your hands. Keep your legs straight and your upper body folded forward from your hip joints. Firmly grip your big toes with the index and middle fingers from each hand. As you exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and gently pull yourself toward your shins.
* Standing half forward bend: Release your big toes and press your palms or fingertips into the floor beside your feet. With an inhale, straighten your elbows, lift your torso away from your thighs, and flatten through your back. Cast your gaze in front of you, making sure to keep your neck in line with your spine.
* Chair pose: Inhale and raise your arms up, focusing on keeping them as parallel to one another as possible and as direct extensions from your shoulder. Exhale, bend your knees (keeping them directly over your feet), and rise up through your torso.
* Standing Backbend: Straighten your legs to standing. Inhale, raise your arms up above your head, and lift your heart toward the ceiling coming into a gentle back bend. Focus on tucking your tailbone in underneath you as you bend.
* Tree pose: Return to center. Shift your weight onto your left foot, bend your right knee, and place the sole of your right foot against your inner left thigh. Once you’ve established your balance, press your hands together in a prayer position and cast your gaze at a point in front of you. Repeat on the opposite side.
* Fire log pose: Release down to your mat into a comfortable seated position. Bring your left foot under your right thigh to the outside of your right hip. Stack your right leg on top of the left, making sure the right ankle is outside the left knee. If its comfortable, you can walk your hands out in front of you and fold your torso over your legs. Repeat on the opposite side.
* Head to knee forward bend: Release both legs straight in front of you. Inhale and bend your right knee, resting your heel at your inner left thigh. Line your torso up with your straight left leg. Exhale and extend your torso over your left leg, lengthening through your spine, into a comfortable stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.
* Bharadvaja’s twist: With your legs straight out in front of you, bend your knees and swing your legs to the left, resting your feet on the floor outside your left hip. Exhale and gently twist your torso to the right, making sure to keep your left hip firmly planted on the floor.