Find Calm in the ChaosWritten by Mandy Haynes December 1, 2020
Well, it’s that time of year again! And no doubt things will be a little different this Christmas, but even with the enforced changes of how we might be able to spend this festive season there will still be endless to-do lists and things to organise. Within that, we need to find time to look after ourselves and switch off from the world around us, to relax and find calm in the chaos.
Back in May I started writing a “home practice series” which put together a series of poses and flows to create a full yoga flow to use at home. This month we are focusing on Savasana and the importance of deep relaxation. It might be useful to record yourself (or ask someone else to read/record it) reading the guided relaxation below for you to use when you’re in Savasana or need to relax.
Roll out your mat in a room you’re unlikely to be disturbed, put some warm cosy clothes on (PJs are perfect), light some candles or switch on your fairy lights and gather some props - you might need a yoga bolster or 2-3 pillows, at least one blanket and an eye pillow.
If you have a copy of May’s article it would be a great idea to practice several rounds of the movement meditation (Cat/Cow, Tiger Stretch, Thread the Needle and Sweeping Cat/Cow) - this will gently ease out the body releasing any niggles or tensions and allow the body to relax a little more easily when you move into Savasana.
When you’re ready, come down onto your back and prop where needs to be propped - my suggestions here are: a bolster or folded pillow under the knees to release the lower back, a pillow or folded blanket under the head and neck, a large super cosy blanket over your whole body and an eye pillow across the eyes or simply close the eyes. You could also have a folded blanket under the feet and ankles or under your back. Do whatever you need to do to be as comfortable as possible. Make sure that the feet are wider than the hips, that the arms aren’t glued to the sides of your body and that the shoulders are drawn down away from the ears. Have the backs of your hands resting on the floor and allow the fingers to gently curl in.
Let’s take 3 breaths here - inhale deeply through the nose, and exhale the breath out of your mouth in a nice big sigh… Inhale again all the way down to the belly, sigh the breath out releasing tension… Last one, inhaling fully and deeply, exhaling as you allow the body to settle and release down into the mat. Allow your breath to find it’s natural rhythm.
Move your awareness to your feet and imagine or sense a wave of relaxation moving into the soles of your feet. Allow it to relax the soles of your feet, the instep and the top of the foot. Let it release the ankles. Allow that wave of relaxation to move into the legs, relaxing the shins, the calves, the knees and kneecaps and then moving up into your thighs and releasing these large strong muscles. Allow the relaxation to move into the pelvis, relaxing the buttocks, the hips and the pelvic floor. Allow the wave of relaxation to move into your back, feel it roll up the spine lengthening and at the same time widening, feel the shoulder blades spreading across the mat and relaxing the whole of your back. Feel the wave of relaxation move up and along the tops of the shoulders, softening them down away from the ears. Feel the relaxation roll down your arms relaxing the tops of your arms, your elbows, your forearms. Feel it move into the wrists, the palms of your hands, the backs of your hands, your fingers and the fingertips. Now feel that wave of relaxation roll over the front of the body, softening the chest, the rib cage and your belly. Allow the relaxation to move into the neck and throat and then move up across the back of your head and then the crown of the head. Feel the wave of relaxation now roll down your face, smoothing out your forehead, widening the space between your eyebrows and relaxing the eyebrows. Allow the eyelids to relax and the eyeballs to drop back into the head. Feel the relaxation softening the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones and the hinges of the jaw. Feel the lower jaw move away from the upper jaw as it relaxes and allow the tongue and the lips to relax. Feel this wave of relaxation coursing through your whole body now, allowing the body to release, to relax down on your mat. Allow your body to rest in this state of relaxation and your mind to rest in the stillness.
I am sending this guided relaxation to you all with warm Christmas wishes.