Feeling down? Ready to come back to yourself? Whether you're having a rough start to the week or if something major is keeping you down, try these yoga techniques to help bring you back to you. Some of them are going to make you smile whether you want to or not!
Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
Standing on a beautiful banyan tree whilst in tree pose in Fort Lauderdale.
Anytime I'm feeling anxious or scattered, I can always turn to tree pose to bring me back to my roots...literally. Tree pose or Vrkasana is best done outdoors barefoot so that you can optimize the grounding effects of this posture.
Start by rooting down into either foot and push it firmly into the ground ensuring all four corners of the foot are flat. Start to lift the opposite foot out to the side by turning the ankle. Place the foot on the grounded leg anywhere but on the knee. The closer you place the foot to the ground the easier it is to balance. If this is really difficult, hold a wall or chair as you practice tree. Keep the chest lifted, focus on something that's not moving, and take a few deep breaths.
When you're finished practicing, you'll feel grounded, reentered, and recharged. Repeat on the other side!
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
The name speaks for itself. Try not to smile or be in a good mood while you're in this pose. Hip openers like happy baby are known to help you let go and release pent up emotions because they are linked to your sacral chakra. By letting go of what you no longer need, you can open yourself up to a happier and more authentic version of you.
Start by coming into a comfortable position on your back, draw the knees into your chest, and grab the sides of your feet. Do your best to keep your lower back on the ground.
Stay where you are or bend the knees and bring your feet up. I like to pretend I'm pushing my feet against the ceiling. Option to rock from side to side or find stillness.
Enjoy and bliss out!
Child's Pose (Balasana)
Child's pose is a way to surrender and come back to yourself.
If you ask me what my favorite yoga pose is, you might be surprised if I told you it was Balasana or child's pose. What I love most about this pose is how accessible it is and the type of peace of mind that it brings me. Whether I'm feeling down or being a scatterbrain (which I'm notorious for!) child's pose is my safe haven to getting centered.
To get into child's pose, send your legs out wide and make sure you are comfortable as this can be a lot if you have tight hips. Draw your forehead down towards the mat or ground and your hips back towards your heels. Know that if your forehead doesn't touch the ground or your hips don't go down to the heels that it is ok. To modify, you can place a towel underneath the forehead or a yoga block underneath your bum.
Extend your breath all the way up to the crown of the head and all the way down to your hips. Trace an imaginary line up and down your spine as you breathe to stay centered. Try rocking your head from side to side to tap into your third eye. Enjoy and come up only when you're ready.
Cresent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Happy hearts are open hearts and crescent lunge is a way to open that heart charka. In this pose, you can help but feel powerful, blissful and energized. This gentle version of the posture allows you to open your hip flexor all the way up to your finger tips. With an open heart you are more accepting of yourself and others, you feel more at peace and find more joy in life.
To get into this pose, find a low lunge position. To find your balance, start by placing your hands on your knees and then extending them up overhead. If able to, start to push your chest forward to open up the heart. Keep in mind that the opening of your heart comes from opening the upper back, not the lower back. If you need a little more, you can lift the back leg and take a high crescent lunge.
Close your eyes, enjoy and repeat on the other side.
Lion's Breath (Simhasana pranayama)
The first time I ever took Simhasana pranayama or lion's breath, I felt absolutely ridiculous in the best way. I was smiling and laughing uncontrollably. By the time I was finished, I felt a burst of happiness, joy and the couldn't help by smile for the rest of the day. As an added bonus, my entire body felt open and light.
Lion's breath can be taken by itself or with movement. If you take this breath with movement, pair your breath with the movement. Start by taking a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale sigh as hard as you can as you stick your tongue out! You can imagine based on this description why it's called lion breathing.
If wanting to pair with movement, start in a child's pose and inhale, start to move your body forward into a seal pose, and exhale as described above with your tongue out. Repeat, breath to movement, not the other way around! Have fun with this one.
Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
First and foremost, who doesn't want to tap into their inner goddess! Making your way into this posture is a sure-fire way to find your inner strength, bring out your inner beauty, and feel like you can conquer the world. The chest is broad, your hips are wide and if you want to take it up a notch you can even come up on to your toes. Find your inner goddess and remember you are capable of anything.
Start by walking your feet away from the center of the body and out to the sides. Firmly root your feet down into the ground, lift your chest, and bring your arms out to a goal post position with your arms at a 90-degree angle. Take a few deep breaths and find that inner goddess.
Yogi Squat (Malasana)
Whether you can fully extend your bum on to the ground or not, getting into this pose is bound to put a smile on your face. I always feel like a little kid about to play leapfrog when getting into malasana or yogi squat! This grounding posture forces you to extend your spine upward and open up your lungs. When this happens, your body transports oxygen to your cells more efficiently allowing you to feel more alive and energized.
Before you get into malasana, grab a yoga block or book if you know your hips are not very open. Place the block on the ground and position your bum on top of it. Send your hips out to a comfortable stance and if you can, place your hands at heart center. Use the elbows to push against your knees and push your knees against your elbows. Emphasize keeping your chest broad and take a few deep breaths.
SMILE, SMILE SMILE...you won't regret it. :)
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