About the series
You can download the full series here:
"If you get too tired. Learn to rest not to quit." Banksy
We live in a world that is hyper-stimulating, infinitely distracting, rapidly evolving and relentlessly accelerating. We’re under constant pressure to be stronger, fitter, smarter, richer and more productive, and it’s completely overwhelming. In order to be effective and to enjoy our lives, we need to learn how to oscillate between periods of full engagement and times of rest and renewal.
Most of us already excel at going faster, longer and harder, but we need help slowing down. We have to give ourselves permission to disengage and allow our neglected bodies and over-stretched minds time to rest and rejuvenate.
Relaxing yoga routines incorporate 4 primary element:
1. Conscious breathing
When you're overly stressed or experiencing anxiety, your sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ mode is in overdrive. Your heart rate increases, your muscles contract and your breathing gets short and shallow. The simplest and most effective way to switch to the parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ mode is to breathe slowly and deeply from the diaphragm. This induces the relaxation response and increases a sense of calm and clarity in both your body and mind.
2. Mindful movement
One of the unfortunate side effects of our hugely demanding lives, is that we spend too much time sitting and not enough time running, jumping, climbing and playing, according to our design. This has a profoundly detrimental effect on the way we feel in our bodies and on how effectively we move. Restricted movement, especially in the hips, lower back, neck and shoulders can cause discomfort and prevent us from performing our best at work and in our athletic activities.
In restorative yoga routines, we move slowly and mindfully through poses designed to mobilise the joints, restore healthy range of motion, relieve areas of tightness and improve ease of movement.
As you transition between the postures, try to focus all your attention on the physical sensations you're experiencing to increase your body awareness. This will allow you to deal more effectively with areas of pain or discomfort that you might otherwise ignore and let develop into injuries.
3. Gentle stretching
How good does it feel to stretch after a deep sleep or a long time stuck in the same position? We instinctively move in a way that realigns our bodies and releases tension from our muscles after significant periods of inactivity.
We cycle through backbends, forward bends, sidebands, twists and hip openers to relieve tightness throughout the body. After a few sessions, you'll find that muscular tension caused by stress, injury, inactivity, poor health, pain or overtraining is released.
4. Somatic (body) meditation
"There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy." Friedrich Nietzsche
At the end of the workouts, when your body is in a state of deep rest and relaxation, I guide you through a short relaxation meditation. Focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body will give you a brief escape from the incessant flow of thoughts in your mind.
Here are some of the well-substantiated benefits of meditation:
- It quietens restlessness and agitation in the mind.
- Gives you peace from worries, regrets, rumination, and overthinking.
- Teaches you to be more aware of the manifestation of stress and anxiety in your body.
- Relieves anxiety.
- Helps you to develop a greater capacity for focus and concentration.
- Reduces the psychological suffering caused by physical pain.
- Improves your mood and general sense of wellbeing.
- Enhances your sleep quality.
Download the Yoga 15 Relaxation series
Maintaining a consistent relaxation practice will help you to feel calmer, less fragmented, more effective and therefore better able to enjoy your life and your relationships.
You can download the full series here:
Let me know which recovery and relaxation methods you find most helpful and how good you are at sticking to them. Often, with a busy schedule, they are the first to go.