Relax and Unwind: A Mindful Yoga Routine for Deep Stretching and Stress Relief
Welcome to Yoga
Pick a seat on your mat and gently close your eyes. Observe everything that's happening in this moment. Notice how you're naturally calming down. Your breath is becoming smoother and deeper. Your shoulders relax, your jaw softens. You're exactly where you need to be.
Keep this mindfulness going and make your way forward, lower down to your belly. Moving slow from here, bring your arms up by your sides like cactus arms. See your elbows are at shoulder height, bent at the elbows, palms down. With your left ear down, drag your right knee up as if you were taking tree pose on your belly, except open your shin parallel to the side of your mat. Bring your knee all the way up in line with your hip and settle into place as your inner thighs soften.
The vinyasa in the first half of this class got your blood flowing, warmed up your muscles, released blockages of energy. So now that we're settling into longer holding relaxing Yin-style postures, feel that energy, feel your muscles, your blood flow, and your breath.
Enda straighten your right leg out behind you and switch sides. Take your right ear down to your mat, open your left knee up, bringing your left knee all the way up to hip height, left shin parallel with the side of your mat. Trust that Indian posture is he'll settle in over time. All you need to do is breathe, observe, and let go.
Slowly draw your left arm back in, coming back to a neutral position on your belly. When you're ready, let's switch sides. Press into your right hand to thread your left arm underneath, draw your right knee up so your right shin is parallel to the side of your mat, reach your right arm up to the ceiling, then slowly open and soften into this deep twist. Forget about maintaining proper form or anything like that. Instead, just allow your body to unfold. Your shoulders can roll open, your hips, and right knee might drag back. Just go with the flow and breathe.
Puppy Dog Pose
From your tabletop, walk your hands forward and keep your hips high as you melt your chest down to the mat for puppy dog pose. This can be a very intense position, so try not to approach it at its 90% or at its peak of sensation. Instead, find the place where you can completely relax, and in time, even in just a few breaths, your body will continue to go deeper as tension releases and your muscles soften.
Set up a bridge pose with your feet flat, knees bent, arms down by your sides. Press your feet into the mat as if you were creating two equal footprints. Tuck your tailbone up to the ceiling, lift your hips, and peel your spine experienced as none. Press your knees forward. This time, try the chest expansion. Shimmy your shoulders underneath, interlace your hands, and press your pinkies into the mat so you can lift up a little bit higher.
Slowly release, lower your hips all the way down, and hold your knees into your chest for full winged pose. Rocking out little circles on your lower back or feel free to take any other postures that serve you before we release into our final pose.
Whenever you're ready, release into shavasana. Extend your legs out long, let your feet fall open, take your arms down by your sides, and take up plenty of space so your shoulders can roll open, your palms can face up. Relax your whole body and let go of any tension. Take some time to just be in this moment of relaxation.
As we conclude this mindful yoga routine, remember to carry this sense of calm and relaxation with you throughout your day. Take a few moments each day to connect with your breath and observe your body. By incorporating these mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, you can reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and enhance your overall mental fitness.