Yoga Poses for Reflection & Slowing Down

Later on this month we will celebrate the Summer Solstice.  Historically the summer solstice has been considered a time of new beginnings, a time to celebrate the sun/nature, as well as a time to slow down and reflect on the changes you’ve experienced thus far in the year.  And the year 2020 has certainly given us plenty to reflect on, hasn’t it?

So with that in mind, our June blog posts will focus on all things related to the sun (think sun salutations) as well as slowing down and reflecting (as in meditation and restorative yoga).

So as we prepare to enter into the second half of this 2020 journey, join us throughout the month in our blog and take some time to reflect on where you have been, where you want to go, what truly is important in your life, and also on how yoga and meditation can help you get there. 

Namaste.

Yoga Poses for Slowing Down and Reflecting

In this fast paced world in which we live, it is more important than ever to slow down.  To pause.  To breathe.  And to reflect.  Yoga is one of many wonderful tools that can help you do just that.  And you don’t even have to do to a full length class to enjoy the benefits yoga has to offer in this area.  Simply practicing a few poses daily, in the morning and/or evening, can make a world of difference.

Not only does yoga ask you to slow down at least long enough to be in the pose and with your breath, but it also helps you to connect with your mind/body/breath in a way that allows you to really reflect on how you are feeling and how things are going in your life.  Too often we move from one thing to the next in life without ever taking the time to reflect.

When we slow down and allow the body a little time to relax, it will speak to us.  Our bodies let us know, when we are willing to listen, what they need more (or less) of in life.  The poses outlined below are designed to help the body relax, slow down, and therefore allow you an opportunity to reflect.  Pick out one or two to try each day for a few minutes each, or even make your own 15-20 minute mini yoga sequence using all of them.  Regardless of how you choose to go about it, you will help yourself to slow down, relax, breathe, and reflect.  Now doesn’t that just sound like a breath of fresh air?

Poses to Practice:

Mountain pose w/breathwork

  • Stand with feet about a fist or so apart, firmly rooting your feet into the ground
  • Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears
  • Relax your arms at your sides, palms facing out
  • Allow your gaze to be straight ahead, looking just beyond the tip of your nose
  • If it is comfortable to do so, you can choose to close your eyes
  • Relax in this pose and breathe, feeling your feet firmly rooted into the ground
  • Spend a few minutes practicing the three-part breath in this position or another calming, relaxing breath of your choice

Easy seated pose w/breathwork

  • Sit comfortably in easy seated pose
  • Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears
  • Relax your arms in your lap in whatever way is comfortable
  • Feel free to add a mudra if you would like
  • If it is comfortable to do so, you can close your eyes
  • Relax in this pose and breathe, feeling your sitz bones grounding beneath you
  • Spend a few minutes practicing the three-part breath in this position or another calming, relaxing breath of your choice

Child’s pose (two versions)

  • “Regular” Child’s pose
    • Sitting back on your heels, shins on the floor with knees together, allowing your arms to rest at your side
    • Fold forward, bringing your forehead to the floor (use a block if your forehead doesn’t comfortably reach the floor)
    • Allow the arms to rest on the floor next to your body, palms facing up
    • Relax the shoulders allowing them to fall toward the floor and let your back to round, feeling your body sinking into the floor as it relaxes
  • Extended Child’s pose
    • Sitting back on your heels, shins on the floor with knees wide apart
    • Fold forward, bringing your forehead to the floor (use a block if your forehead doesn’t comfortably reach the floor)
    • Reach your arms out in front of you, stretching the low back and spine
    • Relax into the pose, feeling your body sinking into the floor as it relaxes

Supine twist

  • Lie on your back with arms out to the side (in a T formation)
  • Bring your knees into the chest and then allow them to slowly drop over to the right – shoulders should stay on the ground and your low back will peel away from the floor as the body twists
  • If your legs don’t comfortably reach the floor, use a block or bolster for them to rest on.
  • Likewise if your two knees do not lay comfortably touching one another, insert a block between your knees
  • Relax into the pose, feeling the body melt into the twist as it relaxes with each exhale
  • After some time, inhale the knees back to center and repeat on the other side

Savasana

  • Of course, the ultimate in relaxation poses
  • Lie on your back in a comfortable manner, using whatever props are necessary for you to feel comfortable and relaxed on the floor
  • Set a timer for one minute or longer and enjoy a little savasana time to round out your mini practice, feeling your body melting into the floor as relaxes.

After you complete any or all of these poses, consider taking a few more moments to write down (in a journal or wherever you feel moved to write) some reflections from your practice.  What came to mind?  How did you feel when you started?  How did you feel when you finished?  Did you have any revelations or major questions come up?  Anything that comes to mind from the experience.  Just write it down as the second step in this process to help you relax, slow down, and reflect. 

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