Yoga Practice at Home - Part 1Written by Mandy Haynes May 1, 2020
Lovely people - how is lockdown affecting you? How much time do you have to yourself, to do something for you? Are you making time to do the things that make you feel good?
For me personally, I have very little time for myself with two little ones to look after, but the thing that makes me feel good is moving so I have made sure that I fit this in every day. As well as teaching yoga (now online), my daughter and I join Jo Wicks every morning for PE and we all have a daily walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. There is no doubt that movement is good for you - for your body and your mind - and so this month I thought I’d share with you a gentle yoga practice that you can do from the comfort of your home (where else?!)
Make the time - whether that’s fifteen minutes or an hour. I find the best times to practice are first thing in the morning (before your coffee and breakfast), when you’re winding down for the evening (kids are in bed, dinner is in the oven, glass of wine waiting) or just before bed (covers turned down, eye pillow ready).
Set the scene - take yourself off somewhere quiet where you (hopefully!) won’t be disturbed. Put your phone on silent, maybe light some candles, put on some soft music, roll out your mat and take a seat.
Starting in a comfortable seated position, sitting up nice and tall, close your eyes, relax your shoulders and take a few moments to draw your awareness inwards and check in with yourself - notice how you are feeling physically and mentally. When you are ready, move to an all fours position; wrists under shoulders, knees under the hips (you could have a folded up blanket under your knees).
Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose. Repeat 10 times.
From all fours, step the right foot back, straightening the leg and tucking the toes under to stretch the back of the leg. From here raise the leg to hip height pressing away through the heel, and if you want a challenge, extend the left arm out at shoulder height to work your core muscles. Hold for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.
Thread the needle
From all fours, as you inhale raise your right arm stretching up through the fingers and as you exhale thread the arm underneath the left arm lowering your right ear towards the mat. Move dynamically in and out of this pose a few times and then hold it for a few breaths to stretch across the back of the shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
From all fours, sink your bottom back towards your heels so that the arms stretch out in front of you into Extended Child’s Pose. As you inhale take your ribcage out to the right as you bring yourself up to the top of the mat and as you exhale take your ribcage out to the left as you sink back towards your heels. Repeat 5 times and then rest in Extended Child’s Pose for a few breaths.
You can put this gentle floor sequence together to create a “movement meditation” and repeat it as many times as you want. You could also experiment with feeding other poses in, depending on what your body feels it needs that day and how much time you have.
Finish your practice by coming into Savasana - lying back on your mat (pop a blanket on) with your legs extended, feet and ankles relaxed, and arms down by the side of your body, palms turned up to the ceiling. Draw the shoulders down away from the ears, close your eyes and let go of your jaw. Take 3 breaths here breathing in through your nose and then gently sighing the breath out of the mouth. Rest here for as long as you feel the need.