Along with your ‘flexibility’ class, how else can you create an open body and mind?
Walking around with blinkers on? Feel like you’re running on the treadmill, and not sure when to slow down, or get off? There’s a whole world out there, and adventure can be found just around the corner! Sometimes it can be hard to imagine that the openness of your body is an actual and accurate reflection of the openness of your mind. When we arch openly into a back bend, we are creating the mental space to act with compassion – to bend backwards on behalf of others. Each pose has a hidden meaning and depth to its shape. Circumstances can suddenly become easier to manage, and we can more readily adapt to situations as we become more flexible, and thus be open to whatever comes next. Life can be filled with plenty of beautiful surprises when you’re filled with grace and gratitude, and when you possess a synergy between your physical and mental states of being.
The following sequence will create more flexibility – in your spine specifically, and body in general. The more we give, the more we receive in return for ourselves. When you’re happy for others and their achievements, this is simply a reflection of that inner happiness you hold for yourself.
Please follow the sequence in the particular order as it’s written and be ‘open’ to whatever pose comes next!
Rock forward and back
This rocking motion opens your chest, heart and spine. As you create freedom in your body, you’re doing the same within your mind.
Come into a cross-legged sit, and bring your hands onto your knees. Keep your spine upright and your chin tucked into your throat. Ground yourself heavily into your sit bones, legs and feet – this is your foundation. This sequence follows in the movement of your breath. As your breath starts, your body follows – this applies to all movements within a yoga practice.
Inhale in order to arch your chest, and keep your belly forward and shoulders back as you expand your body; as you exhale, rock back, rounding your spine, tucking your belly in. Rock up and forward on your inhale, keep your shoulders rolling back; and as you exhale, round and rock your body back completely. Keep your chin tucked into your throat at all times. Keep this moving with your breath for 10-20 rounds. To release, come back to a natural upright position with your torso in a neutral pose, and take a few quiet moments to still yourself.
Open up your spine
This movement will enable you to free any tension or emotions that you may be holding onto by opening and releasing any blockages that are stored within your spinal column.
‘Cat-cow pose’ opens up your spine. Start on all fours, with your hands shoulder distant apart and your knees hip distant apart. Keep your shoulders in line with your wrists and your knees and hips bones stacked in line. As you inhale, tilt your pelvis down, open your belly and roll your shoulders to arch your chest upwards and outwards, look to the tip of your nose, and on your exhale, roll your spine forward, pressing up in between your shoulder blades. Allow your breath to move naturally, and enable your body to follow the flow and length of every breath. Continue for approx. 10-20 breaths.
Turn and release
Twisting and turning your torso will release any tension you’re holding onto while simultaneously re-aligning your spine.
Enter into a cross-legged sitting posture, and bring your finger tips up onto your shoulders. Keep your belly active and spine upright, chin in a forward neutral position. As you inhale, turn your belly, chest and shoulders as far as you can to your right side, and as you exhale, turn all the way to your left side. Move naturally with the depth of each and every breath. Repeat 10-20 times.
This is to build stamina, endurance and flexibility. This can be built up to a similar intensity of a sprint or a fast run.
From downward facing dog, cross your legs to a sitting stance; lift up into your boat pose (a V-shape). Raise your legs and lift your chest as your shoulders roll back, with your arms out parallel to the floor. If your lower back is sore, please keep your feet to the ground. Reverse the previous movement by crossing your legs, lifting up onto the outside of your feet, pressing your hands firmly into the floor, and exhaling in order to spring your legs back (one leg distant away). Repeat, inhale to jump back to a cross legged seat, and roll over your legs on your exhale to spring back into downward facing dog. Use your breath to move you and repeat 5-10 times.
Rest into savasana
After any sequence, the key is to allow your body to rest and take on board everything that you’ve done so far, accepting all that has arisen from this session on a physical, mental and emotional level. Lay flat, with your palms facing upwards and feet rolling naturally out to the side. Remain as still and quiet as you can, keeping your mind focused on the sound and flow of your breathing. After 5-10 mins, bend your knees and roll onto your right side. Your eyes remain closed as you rest for a few more breaths and slowly make your way into a cross-legged position, hands to your chest. Bow your head down for a moment as you make a positive intention that emenates directly from your heart. Now you’ll be fully-open and ready to embrace every opportunity that comes your way!
Namaste, Charlotte x