How slow can you go – 3 poses to calm, heal and de-stress

Let’s face it, you are perhaps like me, enjoying relatively dynamic and challenging movement and adventures in your life. Yes? No? In both cases, slowing down our movement and slowing down our breathing and as a result slowing down our mind will be a good practice for us to engage in.

It will be a good idea and an efficient way to reduce our level of stress.  It will be rejuvenating.   It will be the calming.   It will bring clarity.  It will be do-able.   It will not take long.   We will love it.   Maybe not at first.   Over time, we will.

The practice of Yoga and meditation will help us get there.

There is very slow yin yoga, and more physical hatha yoga. Our weekly timetable allows for both.  Check website for current timetable.

These three (3) postures, taken out of our yin yoga program, will allow us to slow down, to energise your body, and calm your mind.  Prerequisite: a block or a book. Here we go.

Block on the base of the scull

Simply lie on your back on the floor.  No mat underneath you required.

Take your block and place it sideways behind your head.  Tilt the block backwards slightly and place the base of your skull, your occiput, directly onto the sharp edge of the block.

You will feel when you’re in the right position, as the base of the skull is where the hair starts to grow, where there is a lot of muscle attachment and where there is consequently the potential of tenderness.

You can now roll your head from side to side.  Alternatively, if you feel you have moved onto a sore and tender spot, allow yourself to pause there.  Feel into the physical sensation and let the tenderness pass.

That way you can move from one tender spot to the next.  Or simply stay still and enjoy the stretch of your neck.

On top of the physical benefit, the enjoyment comes from slowing down.  Let your body soften into this shape.  Allow your whole being to surrender to every moment.  Allow the breath to be natural and enjoy the sense of slowing down.  Receiving energy, making space in both body and mind.  Slowing down and letting the levels of stress decrease.  Hold this shape for one to 10 minutes, or until you feel it’s time to come out.

To come out, start to deepen your breath, gently switch on your belly muscles and start to bend your knees.  Hold your block, lift your head, place the block to the side and allow your head to come to the floor again.  Stay in this neutral position for a few minutes after.  Enjoy the comfort of your already much calmer state of mind.  And notice how relaxed your body is too.

Repeat as many times during the day or week as you can make time.  Praise yourself for making the time to be still and slow down.  This pose on its own is enough.  If you have time, move on to the next one.

Block underneath the sacrum

As you can see, the block is placed on its flattest side underneath your sacrum.  This is the lowest part of your spine.  From the side view it looks like most of your buttocks are covered too.  Feel into it.  If you place the block too high, on your lower back, it doesn’t feel good.

To get into position, it is best to lie on back, bend knees and lift your hips up, then lower onto the block.

Now simply allow your whole body to relax and give into this shape.  Notice how the tissue releases tension.  Notice how your natural breath slows and with that your heart rate.  Notice how easeful it is to just let go and surrender.  Stay for one minute or longer if you have the time.

Of course there are physical benefits too.  For the sake of today’s blog, the intention is to find ways to slow down and de-stress mentally, physically and emotionally.

Again, this posture on its own is enough.  Time permitting, include the other ones as well.

Optional: Block in highest position, underneath sacrum/lower back

As above, except the block is placed on its highest position between sacrum and lower back.  Again, feel into it and find a spot where it feels good.

You can keep your knees bent or straigten them, as shown.  Feel into where there is tension and see if you can relax that with your breath. Slowing down, being still, surrendering is the key here.  We are after de-stressing and calming.

Again, stay for as long as appropriate and it feels good.  Enjoy the practice of slowing down.

The block can be replaced by a book.  If you’d like to purchase a block, I sell them in the studio for $15.

Wishing you the courage to slow down.  Happy practicing.