Some days, it’s just not possible to put in a full hour of yoga. If you are time poor try these yoga poses that you can do right now.
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose – Viparita Karani
Said to reverse the normal downward flow of a precious subtle fluid called amrita (immortal) or soma (extract) in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, modern yogis agree that Viparita Karani may have the power to cure whatever ails you.
- Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
- Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
- Relieves mild backache
- Calms the mind
The pose described this is a passive, supported variation of the shoulder stand. For your support you’ll need one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster. You’ll also need to rest your legs vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright support.
Before performing the pose, determine two things about your support: its height and its distance from the wall. If you’re stiffer, the support should be lowered and placed farther from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall.
Your distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you’re shorter move closer to the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.
Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute “left” for “right” in these instructions).
Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor.
The first few times you do this you may slide off the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don’t get discouraged. Try lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.
You’re sitting bones don’t need to be right against the wall, but they should be “dripping” down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders.
If the front of your torso seems flat, then you’ve probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.
Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don’t push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin.
Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh-bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side.
You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.
Corpse Pose – Savasana
Savasana is a pose of total relaxation—making it one of the most challenging asanas.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Relaxes the body
- Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia
- Helps to lower blood pressure
In Savasana it’s essential that the body be placed in a neutral position. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and lean back onto your forearms. Lift your pelvis slightly off the floor and, with your hands, push the back of the pelvis toward the tailbone, then return the pelvis to the floor.
Inhale and slowly extend the right leg, then the left, pushing through the heels. Release both legs, softening the groins, and see that the legs are angled evenly relative to the mid-line of the torso, and that the feet turn out equally. You should narrow the front pelvis and soften (but don’t flatten) the lower back.
With your hands lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and release the back of the neck down toward the tailbone. If you have any difficulty doing this, support the back of the head and neck on a folded blanket. Broaden the base of the skull too, and lift the crease of the neck diagonally into the center of the head. Make sure your ears are equidistant from your shoulders.
Reach your arms toward the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor. Rock slightly from side to side and broaden the back ribs and the shoulder blades away from the spine. Then release the arms to the floor, angled evenly relative to the mid-line of torso.
Turn the arms outward and stretch them away from the space between the shoulder blades. Rest the backs of the hands on the floor as close as you comfortably can to the index finger knuckles.
Make sure the shoulder blades are resting evenly on the floor. Imagine the lower tips of the shoulder blades are lifting diagonally into your back toward the top of the sternum. From here, spread the collarbones.
In addition to quieting the physical body in Savasana, it’s also necessary to pacify the sense organs. Soften the root of the tongue, the wings of the nose, the channels of the inner ears, and the skin of the forehead, especially around the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows.
Let the eyes sink to the back of the head, then turn them downward to gaze at the heart. Release your brain to the back of the head.
Stay in this pose for 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of practice. To exit, first roll gently with an exhalation onto one side, preferably the right.
Take 2 or 3 breaths. With another exhalation press your hands against the floor and lift your torso, dragging your head slowly after. The head should always come up last.
After completing these exercises, take a few moments to practice some deep meditation.
There are many benefits of a regular yoga practice. Not only does yoga help maintain a healthy lifestyle, it clears your mind and provide clarity of focus – something we all could use from time to time! Let’s look at the benefits of yoga.
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Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.