I have a grounding, calming sequence I’d like to share with you.
It is a flow with forward folds and restorative poses that open the shoulders, hips, and hamstrings.
Forward folds have a number of healing benefits:
- They create length and space in the spine
- Open the backside of the body
- Counteract compression in the back and the neck
- Massage the internal organs
- Improves digestion
- Increase blood flow to the pelvic floor
Forward folds are particularly healing and soothing for womxn because they increase blood flow and circulation to in the pelvic floor and to the uterus. They can be helpful to ease menstrual pains, post-partum healing, infertility, and menopause.
And universally, folding in to the body has a calming affect.
What you’ll need…
Sukhasana (Easy pose) 2 min
Find a comfortable, cross-legged seat on your mat. Let your hands rest gently in your lap. Ground into the sits bones. Grow tall through the spine. Envision a line heading from the base of the spine to the crown of the head and up to the sky. Allow the eyes to close. Tune in to your breath. Begin to soften the breath. See if you can extend your exhale by a count or two. Take several cleansing breaths.
Draw the hands together in prayer at heart’s center. Bow the forehead to the fingertips.
Take a strap (a tie, belt, or a towel) in your hands and draw the hands shoulder-width apart. Lift the hands overhead and extend the hands behind the back and down. Reverse the motion. Find a gentle flow back and forth to open through the shoulder joints.
Release the strap and press the palms together again in prayer at heart’s center. Breathe. Set an intention that will support you in your practice.
Restorative Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) 3 min
Draw the soles of the feet to touch. Allow the legs to extend out into a diamond shape. Take a bolster or pillow and rest it in-between the legs. Grow tall through the spine. Walk the fingertips forward and lower the upper body onto the pillow. Gently reposition the upper body until you feel fully supported. Rest the forehead on the pillow. Breathe.
Revolved Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose Variation) 1min
Keep the left sole of the foot in toward the body and extend the right leg long. Flex the toes. Grow tall. Reach the right hand toward the left thigh and reach the left hand toward the sky. Bend toward the right, extend and reach for the right foot. Breathe.
Find a counter bend. Repeat on the opposite side.
Supported Navasana (Supported Boat Pose) 1min
Bend the knees. Draw the soles of the feet to the floor. Drop the legs to the left and the right a couple of times. Then, draw both hands behind the thighs. Gently lift the toes and draw the shins parallel to the mat. Balance. Breathe.
Supta Kapotasana (Supine Pigeon Pose) 3min
Come to lie down on the mat. Draw both knees into the chest. Draw the forehead to the knees. Release the head back to the mat. Hold the left knee into the chest and extend the right leg. Switch, and hold the right knee into the chest. Draw both knees in. Rest the right ankle onto the left thigh to form a figure-4 shape. Reach the right arm in-between the legs and clasp the left hand behind the thigh or the shin. Draw the knee toward the chest. Breathe.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) 1min
Rock backward and forward on the spine. Rock forward until you are balancing on your feet. Roll up to standing one vertebrae at a time. Swan dive into a forward fold and press the palms firmly into the mat. Step the feet back into downward dog. Pedal through the feet. Stretch the heels toward the mat.
Fallen Trikonasana (Fallen Triangle) 1min
Extend the right leg up and back. Draw the right knee into the chest and rotate the body to the left. Breathe. Press into your palms. Extend the leg out to the left and reach the outer edge of the right foot to the ground. Press the right palm firmly into the mat and reach the left arm high toward the sky. Lift your hips and engage your glutes. Keep the shoulder stacked over the bottom shoulder. Move into a slight backbend if it feels good. Breathe into the shoulders, hips and the hamstrings.
Step back into downward dog and repeat on the opposite side.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) 1min
Walk the feet toward the hands and find a forward fold. Ground into all corners of the feet. Bend slightly through the knees. Reach the crown of the head toward the floor any amount. Breathe deeply.
Balasana (Restorative Child’s Pose) 3min
Gently release the hips toward the mat. Spread the knees wide to the edge of the mat. Press the hips back toward the heels. Draw your pillow in-between the legs. Release the upper body over the pillow. Breathe into the upper back body.
Bananasana (Banana Pose) 1min
Make your way onto your back. Keep the hips centered and rooted. Draw the feet and the hands to the left corners of the mat to find a banana shape with the body. Breathe. Release the body into the mat with each exhale.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Savasana (Corpse Pose) 7-10min
Find your final resting posture. Draw the feet mat width apart and rotate the ankles clockwise and counterclockwise. Let the feet and the legs relax completely. Roll the shoulder blades in toward the spine. Draw the hands out wide alongside the body. Shake the hands, and wiggle the fingers. Let the palms face up. Let the hands and the arms relax compltely. Ease any tension in the forehead and the jaw. Settle in and reconnect with your breath.
I hope that this sequence brings you peace.