Coping Techniques: Yoga Practice for Relaxation and Stress Relief
Welcome to Yoga
You won't need anything for your practice today, but before we begin, let's set our intention. Actually, let's let our intention choose us. So, I'm going to lay out four intention cards facedown. I want you to pick whichever one jumps out to you first. Now let me flip them over, and the card that you chose will be your intention for your practice today. Keep it in your mind or write it down, and when you're ready, let's begin.
Extended Child's Pose
Start in an extended Child's Pose on your mat. Bring your big toes to touch behind you, walk your arms out long in front of you, rest your forehead down on your mat, and let your chest and belly fall towards your mat. With your eyes gently closed, keep your intention in mind and deepen your breath in and out through your nose.
Cow Pose and Downward Facing Dog
From here, slowly rise into a tabletop on your hands and knees. For Cow Pose, drop your belly and lift your chin, roll open through your heart. Take a big inhale, exhale curl your toes under, and lift your hips high for Downward Facing Dog. Reach your hips high and back, press your chest towards your thighs, and it's okay to have a little bend in your knees. Feel lengthen your spine and openness through your heart. On your next inhale, look up to your hands, bend your knees as you exhale, step your feet all the way through, and take a seat on your mat.
Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees come open for Butterfly Pose. Give yourself some space today between your hips and your heels, even walking your hips out from behind you. Take your hands to your feet, take a big inhale to lift up through your chest, lengthen your spine, and exhale fold forward into your hips. Relax your shoulders and let your head hang heavy. Do your best to relax your thighs. There's no need to press or push. Allow your body to soften into place with each deep exhale. Feel your breath travel up and down your spine, releasing tension and creating space with each and every breath.
Twist and Final Relaxation
Take your time as you slowly rise, pull your knees together, and come to lie down on your back. Three full wind boats, just hold your knees to your chest and relax your shoulders. Allow your spine to melt into your mat. Keep your knees tucked in close and lower both knees down to your left, adding on a gentle twist. Use your breath to create space and release tension. Firm up your core and draw your knees back to center, switching sides. Both knees lower down to your right, turn your chin to your left, and deepen your breath. Make your way back to center, coming back into your full wind boats. Feel free to add a little bit of movement here, rocking in your lower back or take any other poses I call out to you before we seal off our practice today.
When you're ready, release your legs and make your way to your final Shavasana. Gently close your eyes, soften your jaw, and feel a wave of relaxation wash over your body. Let your arms and legs become heavy. And if only for a moment, you can completely let go. Exhale everything from your lungs, take a big inhale through your nose, open mouth, let it go. One more time, inhale through your nose, open mouth, let it go. Take your time as you roll over onto one side and pause here in this tender transition. When you're ready, press yourself up to seated and with your hands together at heart center, rest your mind on your intention once more. Bring a gentle smile to your face and allow yourself to continue to be open to opportunity, new ideas, new perspectives, and this new intention.