Gentle Yoga Practice

by | Oct 4, 2021 | Home Practice

In these modern times, life can be very fast-paced; it can quickly change and at times feel uncertain.  This can create a stimulating effect for both our nervous system and our mind.  It is very easy to become dysregulated, both physically and mentally, with all the challenges we face on a daily basis.  During times when we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to carve out time for ourselves and put our self-care at the forefront. When faced with juggling multiple responsibilities and a hectic schedule on top of feelings of uncertainty in an ever-changing world, I find grounding in a gentle yoga practice is a great way to calm the nervous system.  Here is my go-to for a gentle yoga floor sequence that only takes half an hour!

What props you will need:

Yoga Mat

Strap

1 block

Bolster

  1. Start lying on your back in constructive rest pose by bringing the soles of your feet mats width and allowing the knees to fall in toward one another.
    1. Notice the natural curves of your spine and its relationship to the ground beneath you.
    2. Notice the way your body expands and relaxes with each inhalation and exhalation
  2. Dvipada Pitham – Bridge pose (4x then stay 4 breaths)
    1. From constructive rest pose, lift your knees and slide your ankles underneath your knees (heels do not have to touch your glutes)
    2. Place your block (narrow orientation) between your knees / adductors
    3. Keep your arms parallel to the torso, palms facing down
    4. On an inhale, gently lift the hips away from the floor, rolling the spine off the floor one vertebrae at a time
    5. On an exhale, slowly roll your spine back down to the floor, one vertebrae at a time
    6. Continue this movement while following your breath, rolling the hips and spine off and back to the floor with each inhale and exhale, (4x)
    7. Stay up in Bridge pose, gently squeezing the block as you press your heels into the mat, tracking them back toward your head as you lift your sternum a little closer to your chin
    8. Release back down to the floor and remove the block from between the knees
  3. Rest in constructive rest pose, noticing any effects in the back body
  4. Ardha Apanasana – Half Downward Flowing energy pose (4x)
    1. On an exhale, bring your right knee into your chest – hold right knee with both hands
    2. On an inhalation, allow the knee to move away from your chest, as you straighten your elbows, but keep ahold of the knee
    3. On an exhalation, gently draw your knee back toward your chest and belly.
    4. Continue to move with your breath, bringing the knee to and away from your torso. Notice the range of motion in the hip, and the gentle movement of your lumbar spine with the breath.
  5. Supta Padangusthasana variation 1 –  Reclined Hand to Big Toe pose  (4x)
    1. Hold onto the back of your right knee with both hands, as you inhale allow the knee to move away from the chest and belly as your straighten the leg, gently pressing the heel toward the ceiling
    2. As you exhale, bend the knee and gently bring the knee into the chest
    3. Continue to move with your breath, noticing any sensations along the back of the leg and how it impacts your low back.
  6. Supta Padangusthasana variation 2 – Reclined Hand to Big Toe pose (4x stay 6 breaths)
    1. Place the middle of your strap along the ball of the foot (not the arch), hold the strap with both hands
    2. As you inhale, allow the leg to straighten, pressing the heel toward the ceiling
    3. As you exhale, keep the leg straight and gently draw the leg towards your chest
    4. On an inhalation, allow the leg to move back to the starting position.
    5. After four rounds, stay with the straightened leg as close to the chest as possible, making sure that any sensations are spread along the entire back of the leg, not concentrated behind the knee joint or sit bones.
    6. Release leg back to neutral position, remove strap and extend both legs down in Savasana (corpse pose). Notice any differences between the sides of the body.
  7. Repeat the entire leg sequence on the other side.
  8. Bhujangasana – Cobra pose (4x, stay 4 breaths)
    1. Turn over onto your front side
    2. Place hands in line with the shoulders, but not directly underneath them, tuck chin and place forehead on the floor.
    3. Exhale, and connect down through your pubic bone and the tops of your feet.
    4. Inhale, and gently lift your head and chest off the floor without using your hands and arms. Exhale, bring your chest and head back to floor (4x)
    5. Inhale and stay up in the posture, keeping the connection to your pubic bone and the tops of your feet.  Press gently into the heels of the hands, and pull the chest forward (don’t lift the chest higher) and reach through the crown of the head. Stay 6 breaths.
    6. Exhale to come down, and slide the tops of your hands under your forward.  Rest and notice the expansion and contraction of the inhale and exhale and how it feels along the back of the body.
  9. Apanasana – Downward Flowing energy pose (4-6x)
    1. Roll over onto your back, bend the knees, place feet on the floor. Notice any differences of sensations in the body.
    2. On an exhale, bring both knees into the chest, holding the kneecaps with each palm of the hand.  
    3. Inhale and allow the knees to move away from the chest to allow it to expand with the inhalation. Exhale, draw the knees closer to the chest, gently flattening the lumbar spine against the floor.  (4-6x)
  10. Savasana – Corpse pose / Final relaxation
    1. Lay on your back, with a bolster under your knees, and extend the legs long along the mat. 
    2. Feel your structure softening against the floor. Notice the breath moving in and out.  Feel your limbs growing heavy, and the mind softening. 

You can practice this sequence at any time! You might use it to gently begin your day or to ease yourself into rest. If you don’t have traditional yoga props, you might consider using things such as pillows or rolled-up blankets for a bolster or sturdy books for blocks. Remember to meet yourself where you are. Enjoy!

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