Good afternoon yogis!
This sequence includes deep poses that help release tension in the body from the head to the toes, while leaving time at the end for an extended savasana. Rest is very important. In fact, you were created to need rest. That’s right – God designed you to take time for R&R. So treat yo’self and enjoy about 75ish minutes working through these poses and then allow yourself to simply be.
Seated Meditation | Hero Pose (or any comfortable seated position) [5m] – Start in a seated position and practice deepening your breath and observe how you are doing body, mind and spirit. Set an intention that you need to hear and absorb in your practice today.
Neck Release | Back of neck [1m] – Interlace the fingers behind the head with your elbows to the sides. Take an inhale and exhale and drop your chin toward your chest, letting the hands just hang heavy (no need to push). Explore small movements…maybe rolling side to side a bit until you land in a sweet spot.
Neck Release | Sides of Neck [1m each side] – Release the hands from the head and lift your head back to neutral. Interlace the fingers now behind the back and then tuck them over to the left hip. If this is not accessible for you today, you can take your right hand to your low back and left hand to the leg. Take a breath in and then as you breathe out, drop the right ear to the right shoulder. Loosen through your jaw and just breathe here. (Repeat on the other side)
Shoulder Rollover [3m] – Come to your belly and reach out your left arm 90 degrees from the body. Place your right hand under the right shoulder and bend the right knee. Begin to press into the right hand and roll onto the left side body (first picture). If you’re good here, land the right foot behind the left leg and breathe into the shoulder stretch. You can relax the top arm in front of you for support, wrap around your back or even interlace all 10 fingers behind you. **Make sure to maintain the 90 degree shape in the arms if you interlace.
Threaded Needle [3m] – From your belly, press up into table top and lift the left arm to the sky. Take an inhale and use the exhale to guide the left hand across the mat and through to the right side, landing your shoulder and the corner of the head. Right arm can reach overhead or wrap around the back depending on what feels right in your body.
**Repeat Shoulder Rollover & Threaded Needle on other side**
Wide Leg Janu Sirsasana Lateral Stretch [2m] (R foot to groin) – Take a block to the inside of the left leg (you can play around with specific placement). Place your left elbow on the block and rest your head into the palm of the hand. Opposite arm can stay at your side, or to intensify the stretch, take it overhead and rest it on the opposite side of the head. You can also increase intensity by lowering the block a level or removing it completely.
Pigeon Pose [6m] – Lift off the block gently and set it to the side. Rotate around to the top of the mat and draw the right knee to the right wrist. Then, take the foot across toward the left side, drawing it in as close as you need. Take some breaths to lengthen the spine and eventually settle into the fold. Use as many props as you need to make this pose accessible and pain-free.
**Repeat Lateral Stretch & Pigeon on other side**
Forward Fold [4m] – From pigeon on the left side, swing the right leg around to the top of the mat. Feel free to keep a generous bend in the knees as you set up in dandasana (staff pose). Again, take some breaths and then find a fold that feels good in your body. Don’t stress about touching the toes, the idea here is to allow gravity to work it’s magic – so just breathe and be heavy.
Ankle Stretch (top photos) [1m] – Gently rise from your fold and bring the legs around and underneath you in hero pose with the legs together, heels below hip bones. If this is too much you can keep your hands forward on the earth. If it’s okay for you, you can keep the hands resting in the lap or walk them behind you and gently lift your knees (2nd picture: Make sure there’s NO PAIN – just sensation).
Toe Stretch (bottom photos) [1m] – Walk the hands forward to table top and begin to tuck all 10 toes underneath you. Walk your hands back like we did in the previous stretch, perhaps resting them in the lap or keeping them in front. If there still isn’t enough sensation, you can walk the knees forward an inch or too to increase sensation (2nd photo). Make sure that stubborn pinky toe doesn’t escape!
SAVASANA [15-20m] – You heard that right. FIFTEEN to TWENTY minutes…aka mini nap. Make your way to a comfortable position to rest in, setting yourself up with props if you have them. Take a few rounds of pranayama (Humming Bee Breath is a good one) and then allow yourself to soak up all the goodness your practice generated today.