You already know those yoga pants are perfect for lounging around the house, binge-watching a month’s worth of DVR’d shows in one weekend. But consider putting those pants into play in another way that’ll silence your stressors — and keep you fit. Stress may seem like NBD, but too much of it can cause all sorts of drama for your mental and physical health like muscle aches, depression, digestive issues, and more. Nityda Bhakti, a licensed yoga instructor and owner of The Yoga Wellness Space in NYC, takes us through her go-to yoga series:
STEP 1: Victorious Breath
Find a comfortable place to sit, be it a chair or a floor cushion or pillow. Then, take long, fluid breaths in through the nose and exhale through the mouth, whispering a “haaaaa” sound as if you’re trying to fog over a pair of glasses. After a few breaths like that, breathe in deeply again and this time, breathe out while keeping your lips gently sealed, still trying to make that same “haaa” sound. You’ll feel the exhalation resonate at the back of your throat. This soothing breath increases mental calm and clarity and has positive effects on the respiratory and nervous systems. Repeat for 10 to 20 rounds (one round = one breath in and one breath out).
STEP 2: Baby Cobra Pose
Lay down on your stomach with your legs extended straight behind you and your hands underneath your shoulders, elbows bent. Gently press your pelvis downward to lengthen your lower back and draw the belly in. Inhale as you lift your head and chest up from the ground. Poses like this not only help work your abs and spinal muscles, but can also improve your mood, deepen your feelings of connectedness to others and yourself, and help you express feelings of love and acceptance toward others. Repeat this move 5 times, lengthening and lifting on inhalation and lowering on exhalation.
STEP 3: Child’s Pose
Come to a kneeling position with the tops of your feet on the ground, big toes touching, knees apart. Sit your hips down onto your heels and try to keep your hips and heels connected, as you lean your chest and head forward, bringing your forehead to the ground. You can either lay your arms back by your feet or extend your arms forward, resting your palms on the floor. Hold this relaxing pose for 10 to 20 breath cycles.
STEP 4: Seated Forward Bend
Sit on a folded, stiff blanket or pillow, and from there, walk your hands and spine forward, laying your chest down onto your thighs. Touching your toes is not the goal, so just let your hands rest wherever they land, close your eyes and envision your breath. Hold for 5 cycles of breath.
STEP 5: Legs Up the Wall Pose
Find a wall and lay on one side bringing the back of your hips up to the wall. Roll onto your back and swing your legs up the wall. Relax your arms down by your sides, close your eyes, and try to relax your legs rather than holding them stiffly. Breathe here for 10 cycles or up to 5 minutes.
STEP 6: Reclined Spinal Twist
Lay on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Take both knees all the way over to the right, laying them on the ground, thighs stacked. Extend your arms out into a letter “T” shape and gently turn your head in the opposite direction from your knees. Stay here for 5-10 cycles of breath and then switch sides and repeat.
STEP 7: Final Relaxation Pose
Lay on your back with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Relaxing your legs completely, let your toes face out and your heels face in. Extend your arms down along your sides, reaching them slightly out and away from your body — your palms can face downward for a more grounded feeling or upward in an offering gesture. Let your head relax and become heavy and let the rest of your body follow this action of surrendering to the earth. Hold for at least 2 minutes — but for the greatest relaxation benefit, hold for a good 15 minutes.
For even more relaxing yoga sequences, peep The Yoga Wellness Space’s YouTube channel!