Stop, Drop and Savasana!
In times of stress and struggle, triumph and joy, transition and change and basically in any moment of our lives Savasana can be key to gathering ourselves together and coming home. Savasana can create the time and space for us to let go, move on and surrender to whatever is happening in the wonderful world around us . In fact in times of stress, if everyone in your workplace would just stop and lie on the floor in silence for 5 minutes, we are sure that the world would be a better place! We would say, when in doubt, 'Stop, Drop and Savasana!'
Benefits of Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Despite its grim name, Savasana can be one of the most uplifting and feel good postures there is. Yes it is an actual Asana (Yoga posture) rather than just lying on the floor! Here are some benefits;
Stress Relief- The body holds stress in the form of muscle contraction. As you lie on the floor and relax, the body can begin to let go of this tension. No need to hold yourself, or hold anything at all, let the floor hold you. This can leave the body and mind feeling safe, calm and free.
Decompress the spine - Gravity is pushing down and compressing our spine everyday. Sitting at a desk for long hours and carrying heavy bags (especially on one shoulder) can really take its tole. The poor body needs to be decompressed. When you lie down, gravity will be pressing down on the whole body in your favour (spreading you out, rather than squashing you down from the top of your head), making space in the spine and your joints.
Self Acceptance - After working so hard in your Yoga class, or your day at work, savasana is a moment where you can just be. No need to do more or do anything at all. Just be in your body, in this moment and breathe.
*Keep the back on the neck long, lightly tuck the chin towards the chest.If this is too difficult you may need a block or pillow behind your head.
*If you have a bad lower back, you maybe more comfy with the knees up, or an extra mat under the knees. See the picture above.
*When coming out of the posture roll to the side first and use your hands to help you up. See below.
So why not add a little savasana into your daily life? Its so simple, easy and so worth it. When you have 3-5 minutes to spare, simply stop, drop and Savasana. It can leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for anything!
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Plank, also known as a high Chaturanga is one of the simplest and best core and whole body strengtheners and we love it! Here is why;
Alignment is very important to do pose safely and effectively. As in all dynamic Yoga postures direction is key. Checkout Aya in the picture below.We are lifting away from the floor are thinking about a horizontal direction. These directions can transform your plank from feeling like heavy lump to feeling long, strong and light.
Once everything is in place you will feel the burn in all the right places!
Checkout the George Hood setting the Guinness World Record of holding a plank for 1 hour, 20 minutes and 7 seconds. Amazing! Anyone up for beating this? (not me!)
Ahimsa - Be kind to yourself
As we strive to keep up with our Yoga practice, what can we do to ensure our intentions and efforts will last a lifetime? We would like to share with you something that we think is key to keeping up, enjoying and fully benefiting from a regular Yoga practice.
The word Yoga means union, union of the body, mind and soul. The physical practice of Yoga as we know it, is actually just a small part of many elements that make the bigger picture of 'Yoga' There are many moral underpinnings of Yoga, one of which is Ahimsa- अहिंसा; Non harming and the practice of kindness to yourself and others.
Have you ever found yourself doing the following in a Yoga class, or even in your day to day life?
'Ahimsa is the highest ideal. It is meant for the brave, never for the cowardly'
Winter is well on its way and I'm sure like us, you will start to feel the urge to go into a weary and dreary hibernation mode. As it suggests in Patajali Yoga Sutras, when faced with not so positive states of the mind and body, it is best to do the opposite! When our shoulders are up by our ears with cold, chests and hearts closing, and the body is feeling heavy with the cold dampness of the rain........ the best energising, heating, heart opening, sun shining pose is a backbend!
Top Benefits of backbend
Backbends open the shoulders and chest, a regular practice can greatly improve your posture. If you work at a computer all day, you are more than lightly to be rounding your shoulders and curving forwards, a back bend will help counteract the harmful effects of this.
-Improve your breathing
Once our chest starts to open, there is more space created for our lungs, allowing for deeper breathing and thus more oxygen flow through the body.
- Improve your mood
Back bends get your blood pumping and heart racing, it warms and energises the whole body. In Yogic Philosophy our Chakras (energy centres) are located on the front of the spine, when we bend back, all of there energy centres are activated. In particular the Anahata Chakra (where we hold our emotions and give and receive love). This is we why often hear the term opening the heart.
So in these gloomy winter months or if your feeling in need of some feel good energy add some invigorating, energising backbends to your day!