Here is a short and simple yoga practice to relax, refresh, and energise you during hot summer days. Each of the five steps below can be done on their own as a stand-alone practice, for those times when you are looking to fit in just a few blissful moments of yoga. Or do all five together as a short and sweet yoga practice. Always remember that even a few minutes of yoga can be very beneficial and uplifting.
1 Blossoming Hands
Close your eyes and draw your awareness inwards (or if you prefer keep eyes open). Begin to gently open and close your fingers. Make a gentle fist, like a flower closing back to bud. Then spread the fingers, like a flower opening. Continue to slowly and gently repeat this opening and closing movement. Once you have established a rhythm to the movement, bring your awareness to the natural flow of your breath. As you observe the breath, notice how it corresponds to the opening and closing movement of the hands. (Can be done standing, sitting, or lying down).
2 Flower Arms
Stand tall, feet hip width apart. In your mind’s eye picture your favourite summer flower. Now place fingertips on your shoulders, elbows out to the side; relax shoulders down away from ears.
Inhale: open arms out to the side; like a flower opening.
Exhale: bend arms, bringing fingertips back to shoulders; like a flower closing back to bud.
Repeat 6 times.
3 Bend and Straighten Warm-up
Take the feet just over hip-width apart, toes turned slightly out; arms out to the side just below shoulder height. Exhale: bend both knees over feet; lower the arms. Inhale: return to the starting position. Repeat 8 times.
4 Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Stand tall, feet hip width apart; hands in prayer position. Picture your favourite tree in its summer splendour. Imagine that like a tree you have roots going from the soles of your feet way down into the earth. Then bring the sole of your right foot to rest on your inner left thigh; rotating your right knee out to the side. Either keep your hands at the heart, or take your arms above the head, hands in prayer position. Fix your gaze on a point that is not moving. Stay for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.
For balance problems: instead of bringing the foot onto the thigh, just rest the sole of the foot on the opposite inside ankle. Or be near a wall for support.
5 Bow to the Earth (Bhumi Pranam)
Stand tall, feet hip width apart, hands in Prayer Pose (Namaste). Stay here for a few breaths focusing on the heart chakra (anahata). Keeping hands together raise arms above the head: stay here a few breaths, focusing on the space above the crown of the head, the crown chakra (sahasrara). Lower the prayer hands to the third eye Chakra (ajna) and then the throat chakra (vishuddha). Bend the knees deeply (thighs parallel to the floor) and bring the prayer hands to touch the floor. Stay here for a few breaths, thanking the earth for supporting you. Inhale: come back up to standing, taking prayer hands above the head. Exhale: lower prayer hands back to heart. Repeat 3 times.
To conclude the practice: Breathe in, breathe out, smile! Breathe in, Breathe out, smile...Repeat...Enjoy the rest of your day :-)
This occasional blog is designed to share my yoga class handouts, resources, and tips with my yoga classes.