All day long we absorb affective charges. These little packets of energy lodge in our muscles, tissues and organs. And once the cupboard is full, it becomes very difficult for us to relax body and mind.
The most effective way to unload these charges is through contraction and relaxation of the muscles together with deep breathing.
There are many ways one can do that: a brisk walk, a swim, riding a bicycle, etc. But if you are talking about unloading tension and stress from the body through contraction and relaxation of the muscles and deep breathing, then hatha yoga is the way par excellence of doing exactly that.
There is no doubt that yoga has the ability to heal. But as much as it can heal body and mind, it can also wreck the same. There are plenty of stories on the internet about people who have seriously injured themselves during their practice. Not everyone fancies yoga! Precision and knowledge hereby is fundamental. In order to enjoy a life-long healthy yoga practice, we need to listen to our individual needs. And once we understand our abilities, we will be able to practise according to our own pace.
From time to time, however, we will encounter pains. And all pain is not the same. There is pain that is chronic, there is pain that indicates your progress and there is pain that can cause you harm. It is essential to pay attention to the thresholds of pain. Awareness is more important than rushing through a series of postures just to say you’ve done them. An asana is not a panacea or a cure-all. In fact, if you practise with ego or obsession, you’ll end up causing more problems for yourself. And obviously, this is not the idea of yoga. It is, therefore, crucial to observe pains and take them seriously. Pushing through is always wrong!
La Gitane, a passionate yoga gypsy and blogger, shared her thoughts on yoga and pain. She classifies four types of pains: muscular, joint, injury and chronic. Check out this fantastic blog and learn how to practise with them, if applicable.
Relaxation and inactivity are integral aspects of a regular yoga practice. Savasana is perhaps the most important and most challenging asana of your practice. A yoga session is not complete without this final pose. It is a pose of absolute relaxation which allows your body to receive the benefits from the prior work-out and to reduce the probability of encountering pains after your practice.
But even though this is a pose that allows us to rest, we ought not to fall asleep. Two of my clients always look forward to their ‘snooze’. However, we rather find ourselves within a state of deep relaxation. This pose requires us to thoroughly ‘let go’ each time we practise it. It is intended to rejuvenate body and mind, reduce blood pressure and anxieties as well as increase focus and general productivity. My mostly (but not exclusively) female clients are all professionals, running businesses, homes and departments. Lying still for at least five minutes is definitely hard work for most of them.
Would you like to give it a try?
1. Come to lie down on your back and close your eyes.
2. You may lie on a mat, a carpet, bed or floor. Please, make sure you are comfortable. And feel free to use additional pillows, cushions, bolsters and blankets to place them under your head, your knees or your back, if need be. Since your temperature might drop, you may also want to cover yourself with a big towel or a blanket. Simply make sure to modify Savasana to suit your personal needs. You may also play soothing music in the background.
3. Bring your arms alongside your body, and slightly separate them from it. Turn the palms to face upwards.
4. Stretch out your legs and let your feet fall out to either side.
5. Breathe deeply. Your breath flows naturally.
6. Observe your chest and your abdomen rising and falling with each breath.
7. Please, relax all parts of your body, including your face. Relax your jaw and allow your chin to drop down.
8. Remain here for at least 5 minutes (ideally 10-30 minutes).
9. To come out, first begin to deepen the breath. Then move your fingers and toes in order to awaken your body.
10. Bring your knees to your chest and roll over to one side into the fetal position.
11. Slowly bring yourself back up into a sitting or standing position. Breathe.
If you have never practised yoga before, Savasana would give you, at least, a first impression of what yoga is all about. Feel free to practise this pose after having strengthened your back with the Cobra (check it out). This is a great start for a regular practice.
Welcome to freedom. Welcome to life. Welcome to Chi’s Yoga.
Chi’s Yoga – You are blessed!