Evening Yoga Routine - General Practice

Good Evening...Below is a general practice that can be done in the evenings, or anytime you would like to calm and quiet the mind and body.

Seated Meditation - Begin seated on enough height that the knees and hips are even.  Adjust the skin of the buttocks so that you can feel equal pressure between both sitt bones.  Allow the tailbone to descend as you ascend the spine up through the crown of the head.  The side body lengthens evenly, as well as the neck, keeping the crown of the head parallel to the ceiling.  Release the shoulder back and down. Feel the lower tips of the shoulder blades moving in and down, the kidneys in and up. Close the eyes, looking down to heart centre and focus on the breath.  Keep the breath soft and even through both nostrils.  If the mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath.  Stay for 3-5 minutes.

Supta Baddha Konasana - Reclined bound angle pose.  For instruction on getting into this pose see December 2010 - Pose of the Month.  Stay for 3-5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Virasana - Supported with 1-2 bolsters.  Spread knees the width of the mat apart and bring big toes together.  Draw tailbone towards the heels.  Place the bolster(s) between the legs.  Place hands on either side of the bolster(s) and as you exhale begin to release abdomen first onto the bolster(s), then chest and then head, turning head to rest on one side.

Standing Forward Bend - with blocks

Using either the chair (as below) or blocks (as above).  Begin standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), with feet hip width apart and parallel.  Bend forward from the hips and rest the head on the blocks or chair.  If the bringing the head to the blocks is a challenge or if have back/knee issues use the chair.  Keep the legs straight by engaging the thigh muscles and pressing the thighbones back, with outer thighs rolling in slightly.  Try to keep the tailbone over the heels.  Stay for 3-5 minutes.

Standing Forward Bend - with chair

Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog Pose
Resting head on block, adjust weight so evenly balanced on all limbs and keep elbows and knees firm.
See blog for March 2011 - Pose of the Month for more instruction on this pose.
Stay for 3-5 minutes.

Prasarita Padottanasana - Wide-legged standing forward bend, resting forehead on seat of chair.
Stand with legs 4-5 feet apart, toes pointing forward so feet are parallel.  Keep the legs firm by lifting kneecaps up towards hips.  Bend forward at the hip crease and adjust chair so you can rest head on chair.  Lengthen through the back of the legs as lift tailbone up.  Lengthen the side body evenly also from hips towards armpits.  Shoulders continue to release back and down.  Smooth, soft breaths..staying for 3-5 minutes.

Chest opener over bolster.  Place a foam block under buttocks and have bolster behind horizontally and two foam blocks to rest back of head on.  Keep knees bent as recline back and hook armpits around bolster. Open arms out to the sides and rest head on blocks.  Extend legs out and draw tailbone toward heels.  Stay for 3-5 minutes.

Sit on the side of a chair, with feet hip width apart and parallel to each other.  Make sure sit bones are even on the chair seat.  Press into the feet and sit bones and inhale lengthening the spine up. Exhale and begin to turn from the lower back towards the seat back.  On the next exhalation turn from the mid-back, then turn the shoulders and head to look behind you.  Inhale and exhale, returning to a forward position.  Swing legs around to the other side and repeat.  Do 2-3 times on each side, holding 3-4 breaths each side.

Pachimottanasana - Seated forward bend - with chair to rest forehead on.
Sit on a foam block or folded blanket with legs stretched out in front, keeping legs and feet together.  Outer thighs roll inward and press out through inner heels.  Inhale and stretch arms up overhead to lengthen the side body and create space in the hip crease.  Exhale, bending forward at hips and rest head on seat of chair.  Arms can stretch up on back of chair as in picture above or can cross arms over head and rest forehead on top of folded arms.  Stay with easy breaths for 3-5 minutes.

Viparita Karani - Legs up the Wall Pose
Various ways to enter pose.  Lie on floor with legs going up the wall.  Bend knees and press feet into the wall.  Lift pelvis up bring bolster underneath.  Support buttocks on bolster.  Wiggle closer to wall as need so legs stay touching the wall.  Roll the outer shoulders under to open chest more, back of head rests on floor and release arms down by sides.  Breath with smooth breaths keeping abdomen relaxed.

Savasana - Concious Relaxation
Lie on back and place a folded blanket or foam block under the head and neck. Adjust body so it is in a straight line keeping legs together at first.  Then let legs fall out to the sides.  If you have low back pain place a bolster under the back of the thighs and release legs.  Roll shoulders under slightly and rest arms out to the sides with palms facing up.  Move inner arm out slightly to move outer tip of shoulders closer to floor.  Keep the chest open, yet relaxed.  Keep side of neck relaxed and allow the flesh of the forehead to move towards the bridge of the nose.  Draw the sense organs inwards as focus on breath.  Stay 5 minutes.

Pamela Nelson