Here is a gentle yoga session designed for beginners or anyone who wishes to practice in a slower, restorative way. I have also added variations for those who cannot stand and prefer to do the sequence seated on the chair.
Start off in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Tadasana is a very active pose. Your feet are fully spread on the floor pressing it with the intention to get rooted while your whole body raises up. Your legs are together and straight. your pelvis should also be straight (refer to below photo where I show the correction with my hands).roll your shoulders back and down and look straight ahead. There is a general intention to grow as high as possible.
2 variations are available below:
- to help correct your shoulders rolling back and down, you can use a yoga chair (see photo where standing in front of the chair).
- if you are unable to stand straight, you can sit on a chair, ensuring you still use the sole of your feet and buttocks to grow.
Then move onto Raised Hands Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)
Both the front and back of your body stretches, as well as your right and left side. remain in a straight line, looking straight ahead.
Next, move onto Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana).
Feet hip distance apart, legs vertical. Extend your back and reach with your hands as far as possible. You are extending the back in a straight line. Use a chair or the wall as a support and breathe in the pose for a few minutes.
If you feel like your body can stretch a little more, your can place your forehead on the seat of the yoga chair (only if you can keep your legs and back straight).
An alternative for people who cannot stand would be to sit on the edge of the chair with straight legs and tip of your toes up and extend your back up, placing your hands on the wall (see below photo).
Lets now do a couple of gentle twists:
In Bharadvaja's twist (Bharadvajasana), you sit parallel to the seat backrest, your feet are firmly spread and stuck together, your whole legs are pressing against each other and aligned (you may use a yoga block to keep this alignment as you had to keep pressing). Inhale and straighten up, gently twist your torso on he exhale (your legs to not move) and reach the seat with one hand and the back rest with the other. Elbows are bent and then help you twist more. Your head look back towards where you are twisting. Do both sides twice.
In Pasasana, your legs are together, you reach back with your right arm and hold onto the chair backrest while your reach up with the left arm and place your elbow on the outside of your right knee (do both sides and repeat once more).
Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana)
With this pose, we will give a good stretch to the ankles, knees and inner thighs while strengthening them.
Start seating straight. Leave your left foot on the floor, this leg is active. Lift your right knee up and then open it to the right side, gently placing your right foot on your lap. Bring your right knee as low as possible (without forcing it). If you feel at ease, you can bring your right foot closer towards the left groin. Breathe softly for 5 minutes and repeat on the other side.
Turtle Pose (Kurmasana)
Kurmasana is a very interesting pose with many benefits such as deep relaxation of the the lower back, shoulders and head, massage of the abdominal organs leading to a better digestive system etc.
The original pose is quite advanced and requires a lot of practice and flexibility. This variation provides a lot of the same benefits without straining your legs.
Sit on the edge with your legs open and your feet firmly grounded. Inhale your body up. On the exhale, extend your upper body forward and fold down between you legs. Let your head hang and place both and on the floor. Breathe slowly as you relax your body.
After a couple of minutes and if you feel like you can progress a little further, extend your arms back to reach for the back legs of the chair.
Wind-Relieving pose (Pavana Muktasana)
Apart from the self explanatory benefit of this yoga pose, it is also highly relaxing, relieves headaches and lower back pains (as it stretches the sacrum). Stay in this pose as long as you need and let go, breathe love in and exhale tensions out. Use this moment as an act of self-care and self-love.
Namaste my friends!
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