Start your morning with these seven poses from Third Space Master Trainer Clare Walters to calm your body and mind
The stress of daily life is not all in your head. It can manifest physically, too; your muscles can become tense and tight and breath can become chronically shallow. Add to this the increasingly busy mind and it can leave you feeling unsettled and anxious before you’ve even got out of bed.
Mindful movement can tackle both sets of symptoms. Moving mindfully means being completely focused on what you’re doing in the present moment. This helps to break stress-related negative thought patterns. This, coupled with gentle stretches and mobilising movements, releases of the pent up muscular tension, allowing you to feel more relaxed physically.
By taking 15 minutes every morning to move through yoga postures with a focus on steadying our breath and moving with intention, it can help to focus the mind, calm the nervous system and ease out muscular tension.
Start by sitting cross-legged, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Think about breathing deeply towards the belly and softening the navel towards the spine on the exhale. From here we can move into our flow
Easy Pose Forward Fold
Sit with the legs crossed and relax the upper body forwards over the legs. Use a cushion to prop you up if it feels too intense. Sit for five breaths and roll up and swap which leg is in front and repeat. You should feel the muscles all down the back start to stretch and release. Don’t forget to relax your neck and let the head drop down. Forward folds can also help to increase our exhale breath which slows and deepens the breath to calm the nervous system and activate our relation response.
On all fours, inhale and gently pull your shoulder blades back and stomach down toward the ground. As you arch through the back, send your chest forwards and look up to the ceiling. As you exhale reverse this movement and round the back, drawing navel to spine and dropping your chin to your chest. Take as many rounds as you feel you need to mobilise the spine and loosen off the back muscles.
Place your hands on the floor and step back with the feet sending the pelvis towards the ceiling. Keep your knees soft and tilt the bottom of your pelvis up so you feel a gentle stretch through your lower back and hamstrings at the back of the thighs. Think about pressing the ground away with your hands and send your chest towards your thighs. You should get a stretch down the back and back of the legs alongside a strengthening sensation in the arms and shoulders.
Cobra/Upward Facing Dog
Lay down on your front with your hands underneath the shoulders. Keeping the pubic bone and legs pressing into the floor, push through the hands and lift the head and shoulders for Cobra. If this feels OK in your back, you could fully extend the arms lifting the chest even higher and deepening the back bend for Upward Facing Dog. Try and lift your thighs away from the floor. When you’re stressed you tend to slump in our spine and the shoulders round, caving in the chest. Opening the chest in this posture can feel invigorating and energising as you stretch the front body.
Forward Fold & Shoulder Opener
Come to stand with your feet hip-width apart and interlace your fingers behind the back. Straighten the arms to draw the shoulder blades closer together and open the chest. From here, hinge at the hips and fold over the legs (feel free to bend the knees) when you’re relaxed over the legs allow your clasped hands to drop over your head towards the floor to deepen the shoulder stretch. Just as in Upward Facing Dog, this can feel really good to open the chest while also stretching the hamstrings.
From a kneeling position, bring the big toes to touch and send the knees wide. Reach the hands out in front of you and allow your forehead to rest on the ground. Once in this position, focus again on the breath, trying to lengthen it. Child’s pose is very similar to the pose we take in utero before we’re born so tends to feel like a very safe and relaxing posture.
Spinal Supine Twist
Lay on your back and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor with your arms wide in a T shape. Lift the hips up and over to the right then draw the knees into your chest. Squeeze the inner thighs together and let the knees drop over to the left, if it feels good in the neck, look over your right shoulder. Take five breaths here then bring the knees back to centre, re-centre the hips and take it on the other side. Twists can really help to relieve spinal muscular tension and can be very calming to the mind