This is my favourite part of my yoga practice- relaxation/meditation. This is really what changes my whole day from top to bottom. An innocent ten minutes to return the mind and body to stillness.
Read through a couple of times to remember the key points or make a recording to play back to yourself.
Here is how it goes.
- Find a place you feel comfortable in. Lie down on your back with your arms a little out to the side of your body, head, neck and spine aligned and palms facing upwards. Shuffle your pelvis and lower back to elongate your spine, reducing the space between lower back and floor. If you prefer have the knees bent and feet on the floor. Place a pillow under the head/neck/knees/back if you prefer.
- Close the eyes of relax the gaze
- Start to soften the body- the face, jaw, chest, throat, fingers and toes, neck and legs. Then go back through these areas softening again.
- Bring the awareness inside. Notice how you feel physically. Notice any areas of tension without judgement. Notice areas of comfort.
- Breath deeply in and out.
- Bring your awareness to how you are feeling mentally. Be aware of your thoughts. Is your head busy today or quiet? Spend a moment watching different thoughts come and go.
- Notice how you feel energetically. Are you tired today? Are you agitated? Be aware of your energy without criticism.
- Start to notice your natural breath. Feel the inhalation and exhalation. Where in the body do you feel the expansion?
- Begin to deepen and lengthen the natural breath. Try to breath in and out for the same duration, taking care not to create strain. If it helps mentally count up to 4, 5 or 6 while you breath.
- Pay special attention to the quality of the exhalation, being aware of any catches or irregularities.
- Start to notice the little pauses between the inhalation and exhalation. If it feels comfortable sustain the pause for a second or two, feeling the stillness and quietness of the moment.
- As you breath in bring your attention intensely into the moment, noticing sounds, smells, quietness.
- As you exhale allow a release of tension, thoughts, worries, plans, giving the mind permission to completely let go.
- Continue for 10-30 minutes.
- When you are ready to finish the practice make the intention to take a feeling of well being and tranquility into the rest of your day. Begin to wriggle fingers and toes, deepen the breath and make any bigger movements your body wants before sitting up slowly and mindfully.