Tag: stress

Kaya Kriya – a beautiful relaxation for Body & Mind

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buddha statue

Kaya Kriya is one of my favourite yoga practices.
In this three-part relaxation technique, the lower, middle and upper body is progressively relaxed with a movement-breath-sound combination. On the IN breath, the feet are moved inwards, the arms outwards and the head turned to the right. The reverse process is performed on the OUT breath.

Here is a short recording (10 minutes) exploring this beautiful and simple practice; an offering from my heart to yours with love. Simply rest in savasana and enjoy!

Namaste

Finding Stillness

This meditation was inspired by a beautiful visualisation I experienced at a workshop a few years ago with friend and colleague Ingrid Jolley.

Here we acknowledge the ever changing circumstances around us, while connecting to a place within that is always at ease, peaceful and stable.

Give yourself the gift of time and attention.

Opening to Clarity and Truth

vishuddhi chakra

The throat centre, vishuddhi chakra is the seat of verbal communication. When open and balanced, we give voice to our thoughts and feelings, our deepest hearts desire. We can speak with clarity and truth, expressing our wants and needs to others.

The colour associated with the throat centre is blue; a colour that brings peace and tranquility above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation. It reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order – we certainly feel a sense of calm if we lie on our backs and look into a bright blue cloudless sky. It helps regulate the metabolism.

Blue in Nature

  • ocean, water
  • fruit such as blueberries and blue plums
  • blue cheese
  • birds like bluejays, bluebirds, Blue Heron, robin’s egg
  • jewels like lapis lazuli, blue sapphire, blue topaz
  • flowers like forget-me-nots, cornflowers

Blue should be used with caution for those feeling sad, lonely or depressed, as it may increase these symptoms.

Here is a recording of a guided relaxation I used in class recently, connecting the colour blue and vishuddhi chakra.

Blessings

Auto Suggestion Relaxations

Here are two wonderful relaxation techniques that use auto suggestion in helping the body and mind to relax. They are especially beneficial to use in bed if you have difficulties getting to sleep. You may like to learn the sequence and repeat mentally to yourself or perhaps record yourself saying the sequence (it has been said that we relax best to the sound of our own voice!).

dog-savasana

Auto Suggestion Relaxation – Letting Go

Auto Suggestion on Exhale

Releasing muscle tension

For many people the stresses of daily life manifest in our physical bodies as muscular tension. We may hold fear, uncertainty, stress and anxiety in our bodies as tension. Over time this creates aches, pains and stiffness in the body leaving us feeling exhausted or even worse, leads to disorders and disease.  There is a wonderful technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) where you create tension in a muscle, hold for 8-10 seconds and then release. This action causes the muscles to relax, which triggers the relaxation response; the heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, normal blood flow returns to the belly and digestion improves. As the physical body relaxes, the mind soon follows.

Now that’s better…..

For those students that find it difficult to relax the body in savasana (especially at the beginning of a yoga class), this may be a welcome alternative to restlessness and frustration some find in stillness.

Here is an audio that draws on the PMR techniques to help relax the body prior to an asana session or as a stand alone practice.

Enjoy

Releasing emotional reactions held within the muscles

When one rests in savasana, we create an opportunity for letting go. Within the knots of our muscles, are emotional reactions from past experiences. As we surrender to stillness and our body begins to relax, these pockets of tension may rise to the surface of our awareness. It is important to make space for these thoughts and emotions, yet to remain unattached: to simply acknowledge and observe them. When the emotional reactions rise to the surface, the energy trapped within them is released. We may, as a consequence experience a sense of lightness and increased vitality.

Allowing 10 – 20 minutes of active relaxation is a wonderful way to begin your yoga practice. Choose simple techniques to focus the mind; watching the breath rise and fall, establishing sama vritti or equal breathing (where the length of the inhalation and exhalation are equal) or repetition of a silent mantra. Having found some level of stillness in body and mind, together with a release of energy trapped within the body as stress and tension, you can move into your asana practice with more ease, awareness and energy.

Namaste and blessings

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