Yoga for calm
By Grace Caird: Grace Caird Yoga
This simple restorative series is suitable for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. It is designed to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps counteract stress.
Make time for the sequence before bed or practice this at any point in the day – it’s a great way to relax your mind and body when you may be feeling tense.
Uttanasana (Ragdoll Pose)
From a standing position, slightly bend your knees and roll your spine down into a forward fold. With feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in the knees, hold your elbows. Feel the weight of your torso and head fall heavily towards the floor. Keep your knees relaxed and weight slightly forward into your toes. Stay here for 10 breaths, maybe sway gently side to side.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
From Ragdoll, if you can, keep your head low, bend your knees more and plant your hands on the floor. Come to hands and knees and separate your knees just wider than your hips. Sink your hips back towards your heels, and rest your forehead to the ground and stretch your arms forward. Remain here for 2-5 minutes.
Modify: Place a blanket underneath your knees and/or forehead. Option also to place a pillow or yoga bolster underneath your chest and head.
Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)
From Child’s Pose, pull yourself forward onto hands and knees and lower yourself down to your belly. Prop yourself up on your forearms with elbows under shoulders, like you’re reading a book at the beach! Relax your legs, gluteal muscles and belly into the mat. Feel your elbows on the mat pull gently back towards your hips and your chest broaden forward. Gaze steadily forward or just down at your fingertips. Enjoy this heart opening for 1-2 minutes.
Modify: Place a pillow or rolled blanket just underneath the lower ribs for support.
Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Spinal Twist)
Make your way onto your back and hug your knees into your chest. Hold here for a few breaths before dropping your feet to the floor, knees bent. Roll your knees over to the right and stack knees and shins. If you have space, reach your arms out to the sides to feel a stretch across your chest. Gaze up or over your left shoulder. Stay here for 3 minutes as you breathe naturally. Guide your knees back through center and repeat on the left side.
Modify: If your neck and shoulders feel tense, or if your chin juts upward toward the ceiling instead of settling comfortably toward your chest, elevate your head a few inches with a folded blanket or pillow.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Stay on your back and touch the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall open to the sides. Option to place your left hand on your heart and right hand on your belly. Note the rise and fall of your breath as you hold here for 3 minutes.
Modify: Place a book, pillow, or blanket underneath each knee for support. Place a thinly folded blanket or small pillow under your head.
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall-Pose)
Sit side on to a wall. As you lean away from the wall, slide both legs up the wall. Rest your lower back and upper body comfortably on the floor. Roll your shoulder blades flat against the floor and release your arms out to your sides, palms up. Stay here for at least a minute, longer if you wish. To come out, slide both legs down the wall to either side. Rest there for a moment before moving away from the wall for Savasana.
Modify: Place a thinly folded blanket underneath your low back and/or your head for comfort.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie flat on your back, take up space, close your eyes if that’s comfortable, breathe naturally. Stay here for at least 3 minutes. Modify: It might be nice to prop something underneath your knees for lumbar support. Option to place a blanket or something heavier over your abdomen or chest for a sense of grounding. Maybe place something over your eyes for a deeper sense of rest. Take your time as you move slowly out of this practice.
Practice with Grace
Grace Caird is a full-time yoga and fitness instructor based in Kangaroo Point. She specializes in private and corporate yoga classes. Off the mat, you will likely see her cycling around town, and she also teaches weekly ‘Yoga for Cyclist’ classes. In an aim to keep locals happy, calm and healthy in these crazy times, Grace is offering a suite of online yoga programs for a discounted price, as well as personalized 1-1 classes via Zoom. Practice with her anytime for just $25 per month or book in for a tailored private virtual practice. Visit Grace’s website for more or email email@example.com with questions.