Ten Minute Yoga Sequence To Relax Your Tired Mind
We’ve all been exhausted from time to time. Sometimes our busy schedules wear us down. Sometimes our juggling of work, hobbies, family and pleasure doesn’t seem to find that perfect balance. And sometimes we just push ourselves past our limits and collapse under the stress and anxiety that life seems to inevitably create. Whatever the case may be, yoga is a powerful tool to combat exhaustion (both physical and mental). Yoga provides so many excellent options for taking the time to sit back, relax, and simply breath. By drawing your attention inward and listening to the sound of your breath, the practice of yoga allows you to unwind, release and relax your tired mind.
The following is a short but sweet and simple yoga sequence to practice whenever you’re feeling mentally and/or physically tired. This practice is perfect for even those who are still struggling to keep the momentum of life rolling forward as this sequence will only take up about ten minutes of your time. Give yourself the space and the uninterrupted attention to completely allow yourself to surrender and relax for this ten-minute sequence.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Start lying down on your back on the floor. Walk your feet out as wide as your mat and allow your heels to turn in and your toes to flip out to relax completely at the hip joint. Roll your palms to face up toward the ceiling, creating greater space in your chest and symbolizing a gesture of surrender. Soften the weight of your body down against the floor and release control over all of your muscles. Allow the mat to completely hold your weight and support you. Close your eyes and relax the muscles of your jaw and face. Try to soften your breath and surrender into this present moment. Work to create a simple, slow rhythm to your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose. Long inhales, long exhales. Listen to and focus on the steady beat of your breathing. Avoid thinking about your to-do list or what you should have said in that work meeting. Let your thoughts pass through your mind without stopping to dwell on any. Just be in this moment, lying on your mat and listening to the sound of your breath. Let the rest of the world melt away. This is the only moment that matters now.
After a few long, deep breaths surrendering in your Savasana, gently begin to bring awareness back into your physical body. When you feel ready, softly draw your knees in toward your chest wrapping your arms over your shins to give yourself a big hug. Take a moment of time here, being sure to move slowly and mindfully throughout this full sequence. When you’re ready, keeping your knees bent deeply, extend the soles of your feet up toward the ceiling. Catch a hold on the outer edge (pinky side) of each foot with each respective hand. Slowly open your legs out wide and draw your knees in toward your armpits (as much as is physically comfortable). Try your best to keep your lower back connected with the floor, relaxing your tailbone toward the mat while keeping your shoulders heavy and relaxed. Soften into your breath here, still listening to its slow, steady beat. Feel the softness and carelessness of a happy baby here. Become playful and relaxed in this posture derived from the natural movements of a child.
Anahastasana (Heart Melting Pose)
Gently hug your knees back toward your chest and roll to your right side. Take a moment in this fetal position to, again, soften and relax your mind. Listen to your breath. If you would like, take the time to set an intention here, something to focus on or dedicate this practice to (perhaps restoration). When you’re ready, gently press the floor away from you to help your rise up to sit. If you would like, you can open your eyes here as you roll forward onto all fours in a tabletop position. Align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Slowly begin to walk your hands forward toward the top of the mat without moving your legs or hips (keep them aligned over your knees). Melt your heart toward the floor (or a block or cushion) softening the space around your heart as you surrender and release your heart center (or anahata chakra). Let the weight of your chest melt toward the floor, allowing the weight of the world to melt away with this action. Relax your breath, relax your mind. Hold for as long as feels comfortable. When you’re ready to release, slowly press down into your hands to draw yourself back onto all fours.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
From your tabletop position, bring your big toes to touch and draw your knees apart as wide as your mat. Relax your seat toward your heels (or onto a block or cushion), fully allowing the weight of your hips to surrender toward the floor. Relax the weight of your torso forward, folding over your legs. Rest your hands however feels comfortable and surrender into this gentle asana. Feel the rounding of your lower back, this same curvature of the spine that existed when you were in the womb. Enjoy the comfort of this natural position. Close your eyes and perhaps gently roll your head from side to side, massaging your third eye center (or ajna chakra, located just above the space between your eyebrows) out against the floor. Soften into your breath as you surrender into this space or energy center of intuition and knowledge. Become aware of the power and energy you hold to control this center of your mind. Let it relax and release any tension. Allow yourself to be cradled by the floor, letting Mother Earth hold you in her great lap.
Nadhi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)
When you feel ready, slowly rise up into any comfortable seated position. Feel free to elevate your hips onto a block or a cushion if that feels more comfortable to you. Expand your spine high toward the ceiling, elongating the back body. Close your eyes. Rest your left hand somewhere comfortable and draw your right hand toward your face. Gently rest your right thumb onto your right nostril. Place your first finger and middle finger onto your third eye center (that same space you just massaged, slightly above the space directly between your eyebrows). Gently rest your ring finger onto your left nostril. Take a moment to breathe normally. On your next inhale, press down firmly into your thumb to close the right nostril and inhale through your left. From here, press down firmly into your ring finger closing off the left nostril as you release your thumb and exhale through your right. Inhale through your right nostril and then exhale through your left. Inhale left. Exhale right. Inhale right. Exhale left. Try to make your inhales and your exhales the same, continuous length. Continue breathing following this simple pattern. Soften your body as you focus all of your attention on your breath. Feel the balancing sensation as you balance the two major channels of your body, your masculine and feminine energies, your right and left brain. When you feel ready to finish, be sure to end on an exhale from the left nostril to terminate the cycle.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
From here, come full-circle as you once again recline down onto your back to surrender into Savasana. Close your eyes and relax your body and mind. Notice any differences between how your body felt before and how it feels now. Surrender into this moment and relax into your body and breath. Take the time to fully let go here as you drift to another state of consciousness. When you feel ready to release, do so slowly and mindfully. Ideally, you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated to tackle any obstacles that may occur ahead. After all, you have your breath and your zen-state in your arsenal now,
If you are feeling you are of need of some rest and relaxation consider joining our upcoming Yoga of Sound retreat in India 2017, where you will influence your parasympathetic nervous system to relax and receive nourishment for your mind, body and soul. The use of sound is a natural remedy to transform stuck emotions and energy held within the bodies.