Finding Time To Rest Over The Holidays
How have you been feeling these past few weeks? Physically you might be feeling more cold symptoms, congested or bunged up. Emotions this time of year can be linked to a need or want to let go of things, fatigue, exhaustion, and a craving to slow down.
According to TCM (Chinese philosophy), Yin is the passive female principle of the universe, characterised as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold.
This definition of yin works so perfectly for the winter. We are naturally syncing with the seasons by slowing down, drawing in, it is dark and cold and we can recognise this in our yoga practice.
Sometimes yoga can feel like a chore if you’re fighting against what your body really needs. If you don’t feel like jumping on the mat for a dynamic flow class – don’t feel guilty. Listen and observe the practice that you need and your body is craving, we need the quiet and still practices to find a balance in our lives.
Try these poses in a sequence or practice them in yin style and see how you feel.
Take the knees hip distance apart or wider and bring your big toes to touch, sit back on your heels your sit bones connect, using a cushion or pillow here to add extra comfort.
Extend the arms out in front of you, separating the fingers.
Make sure your head is connected to the floor or bring a blanket or cushion underneath the forehead.
Stay in the pose for 3-4mins.
Belly Breath to Eagle Arms or Shoulder Squeeze
Sit back on your heels adding a blanket underneath the knees if you need extra support, bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart. Give yourself time to focus on your breath, noticing where the breath starts and ends, the temperature of the breath as it moves in through the nose and out of the mouth. Try and get to the end of the exhalation and notice if there is a pause before the inhale.
Take your arms out wide in a T Shape and cross the left elbow over the top of the right, wrap the hands around the backs of the shoulder blades. The elbows will stack and you can choose how much of a squeeze you want to give the body. Relax the back of the neck allowing the head to softly release forwards.
Repeat with the right elbow over the top of the left.
Hold for 1 min on each side.
Take the arms wide and cross the left elbow over the top of the right elbow, lift the elbows and shoulders in front of the face and allow the palms to meet in the middle. Feel the backs of the shoulder blades drawing together.
Keeping the elbows lifted, take 3 deep breaths, choose to stay seated with a tall spine or allow the head to gentle bow forwards and cradle the head in the hands.
Hold for 2-3 mins on each sides.
Release by gently shaking out the arms and fingers.
Start on the hands and knees in an all fours position with the fingertips spread out on the floor and the shoulders stacked over the wrists.
Start on the left side, bringing your left knee to your left wrist creating a diagonal line running from the knee to the foot, if your experience any pain or uncomfortable sensations in the knee, move the foot so it is at less of angle. Allow the right leg to be out straight behind you, option to add a cushion here under the left sit bone to equal out the pelvis.
Rise on to the fingertips and open up the chest taking 3 deep inhales and exhales.
Choosing to stay upright in swan or starting to sink forwards to the floor, option of coming on the forearms, bringing a cushion, blanket or bolster under the torso and releasing to the floor.
Notice if there is any tension in the shoulders, fingers or upper body, if you are flat to the floor you could make a diamond shape with the hands to release any gripping in the upper body.
Hold the pose for 3-4 mins and then repeat on the other side.
Leave time to take a rebound or finish in a savasana, lying flat on your back at the end of the practice for 3-5mins or longer.
Thanks to the lovely Josie from Yoga Brunch Club for this guest blog post.