Easter holidays are just around the corner providing for a well-deserved break from daily routine and offering plenty of opportunity for family and down time. With all the festivities going on, if you do find yourself in need of a little “me” time, my go-to motto is: Take a break, take a breath, do yoga.
Here is a little sequence to keep up your home practice over the holidays.
Start gentle on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips on your mat, to move into Childs pose (Balasana) bring your toes to touch, keeping your knees hip distance apart or wider, sinking your hips back, allowing your gluteus to rest on your heels, chest resting on or between your thighs and arms extended overhead resting on your mat, forehead grounded or eye gaze to the side allowing yourself to surrender deeper into the pose. If this is not possible, sink your gluteus towards your heels as much as possible and feels good, and stack your elbows underneath your forehead on the floor as you allow yourself to ground and settle. Aim to take 5-10 or more breath in this position.
Benefits: lengthens the spine, gently stretches hips, thighs, ankles and the top of the feet, relaxes the body
Come back onto all fours with your hands under your shoulders, fingers fanned out wide, middle fingers pointing towards the top of your mat, knees hip width apart, hips stacked directly over your knees and toes directly behind your knees (thus invisible to you). On an exhale tuck your tailbone under, drawing your navel up and in, roll through your spine rounding your back towards the ceiling, feeling your back body broaden, gently tucking your chin bringing your eye gaze to your navel or between your knees. On an inhale, with your hands and knees grounded, tilt your pelvis back, ripple through your spine to let your belly relax and hang towards the floor, open through your chest, lift your eye gaze comfortably whilst keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Continue for 5-10 rounds of breath.
Benefits: mobilizes back and spine, releases tension through shoulders and neck, stretches the front and back body
To conclude simply turn over onto your back ending your practice with Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana) before surrendering in Corpse Pose (Savasana).
For Happy Baby lay on your back and bring your bent knees into your chest, stacking the soles of your feet against the ceiling. Take hold of your inner thighs and draw them towards the outside of your ribcage. Aim to keep your tail bone grounded, keeping your hands on your inner thighs or higher up your legs holding your shins or calves or even the soles of your feet without letting your tail bone lift off the floor. Focus on breathing deeply, keeping your chin slightly tucked, lengthening through your neck whilst relaxing your shoulders and elbows. Aim for 5-10 breath before bringing your knees back together over your hips and your feet to the ground to release the pose. Then get comfortable and stretch out on your mat for Savasana.
Benefits: gently stretches inner groins, releases and lengthens back body, helps to relieve stress