I’d like to share a soothing hatha sequence. There’s a focus on stretching the neck, torso, and back through gentle tilts, forward folds, and side bends. The majority of the poses are restful and low to the ground. There are a couple of standing poses to incorporate some movement and to allow for a deep stretch in the hips and hamstrings.
The items below are recommended to provide support in a couple of poses. Other items you may have nearby could work in their place.
- Bolster or Pillow
Sukhasana (Easy Pose) (1min)
Begin in a comfortable cross-legged position. Let the spine grow tall. Gently lift the crown of the head and close the eyes. Relax the jaw. Settle into the pose. Draw awareness to the breath and start to soften the inhale and the exhale. See if you can extend the exhale by a count or two. Feel the expansion and then the contraction. Take several deep cleansing breaths and then find a natural rhythm with the breath.
Seated Neck Tilts (1min)
Exhale and start to gently tilt the head backward, to your edge. Pause for a breath. Inhale, return to center. Drop the head forward and bring the chin toward the chest. Pause for a breath. Return to center. Flow backward and forward. Return to center. Drop the ear to the right shoulder, back to center, and then drop the ear to the left. Flow back and forth. Turn the chin toward the right shoulder. Then to the left. Flow back and forth.
Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Seated Cat Cow) (2min)
Inhale, tilt the head back and continue to lift the chin and chest, arching the back. Broaden across your collar bones. Gaze up. Exhale, round through your spine and tuck your chin into toward your chest and relax the muscles in your neck.
Seated Extended Side Bends (1min)
Take the arms out to either side and shake them out. Rotate the wrists and lift both arms overhead. Bring the hands shoulder-width apart. Bending from the hips, tilt to the left. Back to center. Then over to the right. Return to center.
Seated Hug Pose (1min)
Spread the arms wide, palms facing forward. Cross the arms, right on top. Give yourself a big hug. Drop the chin toward the chest. Extend the arms out wide. Release and spread the arms out. Give yourself a big hug with the opposite arm on top. Fold in toward the arms. Breathe into the upper back.
Seated Shoulder Rolls (1min)
Place the fingertips onto the shoulders. Draw the elbows towards one another. Let the upper body relax and let the chin drop toward the chest a bit.
On an inhale, lift the elbows upward and outward (like wings) and drop them down as you exhale. Repeat. After half a minute, Switch and reverse direction.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) (2min)
Extend both legs out straight in front and flex the toes toward the body. Keep a bend in the knees. Lengthen through the spine. Extend the arms overhead and grow tall. Bend from the hips and drape the upper body over the legs. For support, draw a pillow on top of the legs. Walk the fingertips in toward the body and lift the upper body off the legs of your pillow.
Restorative Side Stretch (4min, each side)
Extend both legs long. Draw the pillow horizontal on the mat, up against the hips. Grow tall and begin to bend to the right and drape the right side body over the pillow and the release cheek to the mat. Repeat on the left side.
Uttanasana (Standing forward fold) (2min)
Rollover on onto your back and draw both knees into the chest. Rock up and down and massage the spine, Then rock up to standing. Roll the shoulder blades back and squeeze them in toward the spine. Pause for a full breath. Reach the arms overhead and swan dive over the legs and reach the fingertips toward the mat. Drop the head in toward the body. Keep a slight bend in the knees. Allow the head to completely relax. Nod the head yes. Then nod the head no. Walk the fingertips out, and back in. Allow the back to round. Walk the fingertips out and toward the right, back to center, and to the left.
Malasana (Yogi Squat) (2min)
Walk the feet out mat-width. Point the toes out. Turn the heels in. Drop the hips toward the mat into a yogi squat. Lengthen through the spine. Gaze forward. To modify, take a block underneath the hips or roll a blanket to place underneath the heels for support in the pose. Draw the hands together in prayer at the heart’s center.
Release the palms to the mat. Press the palms evenly, lift the hips and come into a forward fold. Flow from yogi squat into a forward fold 3-4 times.
Ground the right hand and twist the chest open to the left and extend the left arm to the sky. Release and ground the left palm. Twist the chest open to the right and extend the right arm overhead. Release and return to center, and ground both palms.
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard pose) (2min)
Inch the left foot over to the left edge of the mat. Step the right foot back into lizard pose. Keep the back knee lifted or release the knee down. Keep the arms and upper body extended or release the forearms to the mat. Step the right foot back into yogi squat and find your balance and your edge. Step the left book back into lizard pose. Find your arm variation of choice. Step the right foot back into Malasana. Step the left foot back and repeat on the opposite side.
Makarasana (Crocodile) (4min)
Step the right foot back to meet the left and lower the body to the mat. Stack the hands underneath the forehead. Release the body down into the mat with every exhale. Bend the right leg out to the side and find your edge. Breathe. Release. Return the right leg to the mat. Bend the left leg out to the side and find your edge. Breathe. Release.
Savasana (Corpse Pose) (5-10min)
Rollover onto your back. Gently shake the arms and the legs, circle the ankle and the wrists, and then release everything to the mat. Let the feet relax completely. Hug the shoulder blades in toward the spine. Palms face up. Relax the jaw. Scan the body and release any tension that you notice. Return to your breath. Rest.