Last week we shared our 10 Minute Yoga Practice for Energy. This week, we’re focusing on a quick sequence for cleansing. Whether you carve out ten minutes during you lunch break or wait to wind down the day, these poses will help center your breathing and refocus your thoughts to a more peaceful frame of mind. This sequence is from My Pocket Yoga.
Initially, do poses several times for short periods of time to get familiar with the shape and actions of the posture. Remember to breathe continuously and smoothly in the pose. Don’t get discouraged if the poses seem difficult at first; that’s normal. Remember: It takes time to explore your mind and body connections and change your patterns of movement and perception. Seek the advice and knowledge of an experienced teacher if you are having problems with a pose. Go to classes with a knowledgeable teacher to enhance and deepen your home practice.
Pair this cleansing sequence with Complete Breath. Lie down with bent knees, and begin breathing through your nostrils and observing your breath. Become aware of the natural length of your inhalation and exhalation, and the pauses in between. Remain relaxed without changing or forcing the breath. Let the breath flow smoothly and evenly. Relax your facial muscles and jaw.
Now place your hands on your lower abdomen, allowing them to rest there lightly. As you breathe in, feel your hands fill with your breath as your belly gently expands. On exhalation, notice how your belly contracts, moving away from your hands and receding into your body. Spend ten to twelve breaths observing the movement of the breath in your belly.
Next, lightly place your palms on your lower front floating ribs. Let your wrists relax down to your body. Again, let the breath come into your hands upon inhalation and feel your ribs contracting on exhalation. Do this for another ten to twelve breaths.
Lastly, place your hands on the collarbone and observe the breath filling the area under your hands on the inhalation. Notice how your top chest recedes with the exhalation. Practice this for ten to twelve breaths. Then allow your arms to come back to your sides, palms facing up. Continue to watch your breath, feeling the three-part breathing pattern. You may find that the breath comes in more easily to one area than it does to another. With practice, you will be able to breathe more fully and deeply, filling your entire body with the breath.
For more breathing techniques, try this Yoga Breathing 101.