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20min Yoga practice to help you reduce stress

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

By now, you've probably lost count of the many lockdowns we've had to go through these past 10 months, and that's okay. It's also okay to feel tired, restless, demotivated, anxious and stressed - after all, we're only humans.


To help you feel better and cope with some of these side effects of lockdown, we've prepared this simple but effective 20min practice to reduce stress. Let's do it!


P.S. This is not a complete class, but rather a short practice that can be tried by anyone irrespective of their level of expertise. For our yoga classes, please check here.

 

Start by setting up your yoga corner – see our earlier post for a few ideas on how to get started and what you need to know before starting your practice.


Turn off your phone (or set it to flight mode) so you are not interrupted – this is your ‘me time’. Put some calm music on - check out our suggested playlist through the link below - dim down your room light and sit down in a comfortable cross-legged position. If you can’t yet sit down on the floor, you can sit upright on a chair.


https://spoti.fi/3oopcPY


Gently close your eyes and get your mind and body ready for your practice.


Mánasika - Mentalisation, strengthening of the will and projection of consciousness


Start by setting the stage of what you want to achieve with your practice. Visualise yourself at your very best – feeling happy and relaxed, full of energy, your emotions stable and your mind sharp and focused.


Allow yourself to connect to those thoughts on a deep inner level – and let your smile light up your face.


Pújá - Energetic repayment


In the Yoga tradition, we like to remind ourselves of everything we should be grateful for on a daily basis.

Yogi doing Pújá
Bhakti Mudrá

Placing the palm of your right hand on the centre of your chest, and the palm of the left hand on top of the right one - Bhakti Mudrá, become aware of your heart beat...



As your awareness grows, connect with that inner energy – Prána - that inhabits every inch of your body, that makes your heart beat, your lungs breathe, your legs walk and your eyes see.


Allow a feeling of gratefulness to grow inside of you – gratefulness for the wonders of Nature that we can’t replicate, but can cherish and preserve. Gratefulness for this ‘thing’ that we can all feel, but few can explain. Gratefulness for the life that lives in us. Offer that gratitude back to the Cosmos - Mahá Shakti Pújá.


Pránáyáma - Energetic and neuro-vegetative breathing exercises


If you are an experienced practitioner, perform Kumbhaka Pránáyáma - controlled retentions of breath with full lungs - in a crossed-leg position, hands in Jñána Mudrá. Choose a rhythm of your choice, as long as the exhalations are at least twice as long as your inhalations.


If you are new to Yoga, lie down on your back and bend your knees, placing the plants of your feet on the floor, in a relaxed position. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. Start by practicing diaphragmatic breathing or Adhama Pránáyáma - sometimes called ‘abdominal’ breathing, as you can see your abdomen move up and down as you inhale and exhale.

Yogi doing abdominal breathing
For Adhama Pránáyáma, lay down on the mat and place your right hand on your chest; your left on your abdomen

As you breathe in, your abdomen dilates and you can see your left hand moving up; as you breathe out your hand moves down as your abdomen gently ‘deflates’.


Let your breathing cycles get slower and slower, and focus on where you are breathing from – you are trying to completely expand and deflate your diaphragmatic lung lobes - the larger ones, able to carry the most oxygen.


If you feel confident with the movement of your lungs as you inhale and exhale, try to add rhythm – inhale in 5 seconds and exhale in 10 seconds.


Try to completely focus on the breathing technique, following your inhalations and exhalations as you keep counting your rhythms.

Enjoy your Pránáyáma for 7-10 minutes.


Jápa Tala - Rythmic, concentrating sounds


Yoga uses sound – Mantra - in a variety of ways, one of them is called Jápa Tala. This technical discipline consists of repeating a short mantra with a set cadence to help induce concentration.

Yogi meditating
Rest your hands on your lap, one on top of the other

Get back to your sitting position, legs crossed, hands on your lap, on top of each other, palms facing up. Your spine should be vertical and your eyes gently closed. Slowly repeat the sounds YAM and OM, 21 times.

Note: the ‘M’ part of these words is a reverberation, like a ‘humming’ sound.


When you articulate YAM, focus on the centre of your chest. When you articulate OM, focus on the point in between your eyebrows – the Ájña Chakra.


Dháraná - Continuous concentration


Set an alarm for 5 minutes time - not too loud. Light up a small candle and place it at eye-level, in such a way that you can clearly see its flame - please make sure you move away anything flammable and remember safety first(!).


Focus so intensely on the gentle movement of the candle’s light, that everything else around it becomes accessory – create a ‘focus tunnel’. Concentrate continuously on this light until your alarm beeps.


Mánasika - Mentalisation, strengthening of the will and projection of consciousness


Allow yourself to feel the calming and focusing effects of your practice. Visualise yourself feeling this amazing for the rest of the day.


You can repeat this practice whenever you like.

 

If you want to further explore the vast wisdom of Traditional Yoga, why not book yourself for one of our online classes, and experience a full class in all its glory?

Click here for our free 14-day trial.

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