Benefits: Happy Baby Pose gently stretches the back, the spine and inner groin. It calms the brain and can relieve fatigue and stress.
How to do it: Lie down on your back with your legs straight. Exhale deeply and bend your knees up to your stomach. Inhale and grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. If this is difficult then you can use a yoga strap and wrap it around the middle arches of your feet. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso and bring them up towards you.
Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands as you pull your hands down to create a resistance. There you have it, happy baby pose.
Yoga Vocabulary: Yoga Strap – A popular prop used during yoga practice to help achieve poses that are a bit out of the reach for beginners. It is often used by those who haven’t quite achieved the flexibility necessary to perform a full pose.
Benefits: Savasana is a resting pose but has the ability to relax the body and the mind. It can help relieve stress and mild depression, it can help lower blood pressure, reduce headaches, fatigue and insomnia.
How to do it: Savasana is a difficult pose for many people. It appears that you are just lying down on the mat and having a rest but the corpse pose is much more than that. It’s essential that your body should be placed in a neutral position. First, sit on your mat with your knees bent, feet on the floor and lean back onto your forearms, take your time. Life your pelvis slightly and with your hands, push the back of the pelvis towards the tail bone. Return the pelvis to the floor. Inhale. Slowly extend the right leg and then the left leg, pushing through the heels. Release both of your legs, soften the groin and see that your legs are angled evenly. Soften but don’t flatten the lower back.
If you need to, support the back of the head and neck with a folded blanket. Using your hands, lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and release the back of the neck down towards the tail bone. Reach your arms toward the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor. Rock slightly from side to side and broaden the back, ribs and shoulder blades away from the spine. Release the arms to the floor and turn them outwards, stretch them away from the space between the shoulder blades.
Relax. Take some deep breaths and close your eyes. It’s important to be aware in Savasana, soften the root of the tongue, the jaw, the nose, the skin of the forehead, let the eyes sink to the back of the head. Stay in the pose for at least five minutes. To get out of the pose, simply roll gently with an exhalation onto one side. Take two or three breaths before pressing your hands against the floor and lifting your torso, dragging your head slowly after. The head should always come up last.
Benefits: Stretches the back of torso and neck, provides a gentle massage to the stomach and spine.
How to do it: Start on your hands and knees, relax your neck. This is called tabletop position. It’s important that your knees are set directly below your hips and your elbows, wrists and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor. Relax your head and look down.
Take a moment to feel the earth beneath you, make sure you feel sturdy and then exhale. Round your spine towards the ceiling, make sure you keep your shoulders and knees in the same position. Release your head toward the floor, but be careful not to force your chin to your chest. Once you have done this, you then take a deep breath in, coming back to the neutral tabletop position.
Benefits: Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors and spine,
stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands and intenstines,
helps relieve stress and improves digestion.
How to do it: Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Place your hands on the floor behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet, make sure you have nice strong arms. Don’t curve your back, keep it nice and straight. Exhale deeply and bend your knees. Lift them up, make sure that your thighs are at a 45 degree angle from the floor, lengthen your tailbone. If you can, slowly straighten your knees. Raise the tips of our toes slightly above the level of your eyes.
Do what feels comfortable for you. If you can only do it with your knees bent then that’s perfectly fine. Next, stretch your arms out, parallel to your legs. Spread your shoulder blades across your back and reach out through your fingers. If you find this difficult then keep your hands on the floor beside your hips and hold onto the back of your thighs. Try to keep the lower belly relatively flat. Breathe easy.
Press the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the top of the sternum. There you have it. Boat pose. Stay in the pose for about ten to twenty seconds. Gradually increase the time that you stay in the pose and you will get stronger and better at it in time. When you are ready to leave the pose, release your legs with an exhalation and inhale as you sit upright.