You know that feeling when you just can't stop running around with the thoughts in your mind? It's exhausting. Whether you're low on brainstorming juices, need to make a decision, or just clear your head, here are three poses that are tried, tested, and true.
1. CHILD'S POSE
What to do: Get on your knees, take the big toes together and knees out wide and reach your arms ahead of you while sitting your bum back to your heels. Let your chest and belly fall through towards the ground and just breath. If you want to take the variation in the photo, take your hands to prayer hands and place them behind your head to free up your upper back and shoulders.
Note: You can also place a blanket or cushion underneath your knees and underneath your bum (between sitbones and heels) for comfort.
Bring your awareness to the ground beneath you (really feeling the points of contact- knees, feet, forehead, elbows, etc) and your breath- counting out 8-10 breaths or more.
Why should I do this: Not only is this a very humbling posture as you are quite literally bowing down to your yoga mat/ the "universe"; but also, with the hands behind the head, it allows you to feel "protected" and creates a safe space for you to just sit with your breath for a moment. By focusing on the breath, you allow all the thoughts to fall away one by one until you get a sense of clarity.
2. FORWARD FOLD
What to do: From standing, take your feet to hip width distance apart. Soften your knees and focus on pushing your bum back and up as you hinge forwards at the hips. Drop the top of your head towards the ground to relax the back of your neck.
Note: Knees can stay bent to free up the hamstrings, or to allow for fingers to touch the ground. Other alternatives are to take hold of opposite elbows.
Once again, count out 8-10 breaths or more.
Why should I do this: When we feel like our thoughts are all over the place, it's often helpful to look inwards to see what that little voice inside says. This is a pose in which we are doing this on a very physical level, and as a result, facilitates it on a mental level.
3. TEDDY BEAR STAND/ HEADSTAND
What to do: From all fours, take the very top of your head (eg. NOT the forehead) to the ground (or in my case, a folded up blanket). Take your hands and place them to either side of your head, just in front of your face so that your head and your two hands form a triangle-esque shape. You want to be able to see your hands from your peripheral vision. Press firmly into your hands and squeeze the elbows in towards your body (think: chata pushup). Tuck your toes and come into downward dog legs. Walk your feet in close to your face --> this will take your bum overtop of your shoulders with an element of control. When you feel like your bum is stacked overtop of your shoulders (note: you will feel this, there's no second guessing this sensation as you feel remotely steady), lift your feet on the ground and place your knees on your triceps continuing to squeeze your elbows in.
To get into headstand: Pressing firmly into your hands and staying strong through your arms and rhomboids (between your shoulder blades), start to tip your weight so that your bum is overtop of your shoulders even more. You will need to pull your lower belly in/ core in to help stabilize. From there, you will slowly lift your knees off of your arms (as seen in the second picture) and eventually straighten your legs up overhead.
For a step by step photo version, check out one of our fav gals- Carolyn Budgell here.
Tip: Make sure there's plenty of room on the other side of you. If you feel yourself falling out, tuck (chin in!) and roll! Also, note that you want VERY LITTLE weight on your actual head. Your hands and arms and core are keeping you up.
Why should I do this: You are literally flipping your perspective. Headstands are also a little bit playful and take us all out of our element, which in turn helps us lighten up. After all, why so serious?