I think everyone has days sometimes where life seems overwhelming and terrifying and you kind of feel… chased. This routine is for those days.
You don’t need a yoga mat for any of this stuff – you can actually do most of this routine in bed (recommended, because, bed). You can light a candle or some incense if you feel like it, but turn any tvs or music off – you need to be able to hear your own breathing.
Breathing is the most important thing in this routine. You want to be taking slow, relaxed breaths – deep, but not deep enough to make you feel dizzy. Keep noticing your breathing, and listening to it. Keep making sure your breathing is comfortable and slow. Give yourself a couple of minutes to get into it. Okay? And go…
Lean forward, holding each elbow with the opposite hand. Nod your head a couple of times and let your head hang loose – you’re trying to let your neck and back stretch out. Hang here for five breaths.
Rocking Self Hug
Lie on your back and hold your knees. When you breathe out, hug your knees as close to your chest as you can. When you breathe in, let them out a bit. Do this ten times.
TOP TIP – this pose is known in the yoga world as “wind releasing pose”. Never demonstrate it in front of someone you wish to impress.
This pose is joyful. Babies really do this! Hold it for five deep breaths. Rock from side to side if you like, it’s nice.
Sit like this, feet as close to your bum as possible. Hold your feet and open them like a little book. Sit up straight and breathe five breaths. If you want, you could bend over forward and take another five breaths.
Legs apart and lean forwards as much as is comfortable. Hold yourself and breathe five breaths.
So, you know how sometimes you feel like you want to curl up into a ball until everything stops? This is the comfiest ball to curl into. I like to have my knees wide and my hands stretched out, but it can be really comforting if you kind of use your hands as a pillow too. Stay for five deep breaths, or as long as you need to.
If you ever feel totally overwhelmed in life, as an emergency measure it can help if you just come into this pose and count out ten breaths, paying particular attention to the exhales.
Legs Up the Wall
This is hands down my favourite yoga pose ever. Find a wall, get your bum as close as possible and stick your legs up it. It feels AWESOME. Do it for at least five breaths but much more time if you like it (you will because it’s awesome).
So, meditation is very difficult and very challenging and very boring. It is also the single most useful thing I’ve found for managing anxiety. We’ll talk more about meditation in another post, but for now we’ll just do five minutes. Sit comfortably, maybe cross legged with a pillow under your bum or even on a chair if that’s best. No need to do the lotus position like my model unless that really is comfortable for you. The most important thing is that your back is straight.
Now set the timer on your phone for five minutes then put it somewhere you can’t see the screen. Put your hands in your lap and let your eyes rest on a point a couple of feet ahead of you. Start to count your breaths – count one for an in-breath, two for an out-breath, three for an in-breath – until you get to ten. Then go back to one. Keep doing this until the timer goes off.
You will get distracted and thoughts will swim about and surface in your brain. That’s okay. The thoughts might be distressing. That’s okay too. Just notice that your attention has drifted and start counting breaths again.
Okay! You’re done. Have a great day, gorgeous.
Many thanks for The Prison Phoenix Trust for letting me use the images. Check them out!