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Yoga Sequences

Try This Sequence to Stave Off School Stress

Making time for stillness during a stressful school day is an act of self-love and compassion that can fill you up when you’re feeling depleted.

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Find a quiet and empty space where you can roll out your mat to practice this sequence. Coming to our mat during stressful times isn’t the easiest, but it’s definitely important. Making time to find stillness helps relieve the stress of our daily lives and allows us to feel more centered throughout the rest of our day.

This sequence is designed to get you out of your head and into the present moment. It features both restorative and grounding postures that will allow you to turn inward and connect with your breath, relieving tension in both the body and the mind.

See also Feeling Scattered? Center Yourself ASAP with a 10-Breath Meditation

Cultivate a deep and continuous breath throughout the entire practice. Take time to notice what sensations and thoughts arise throughout your practice, and, then, continue to return your attention to the breath and the here and now. 

See also 6 Cheap and Practical Ways to Practice Yoga for Students.

Seated meditation in Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

Seated meditation in Salabasana
Christopher Dougherty

Begin in an easy elevated seat, sitting up on a block, bolster or blanket. Place your palms face down on your knees to create a sense of grounding and close your eyes. Begin to cultivate a deep three-part breath beginning in the lower belly, up into the rib area, and then into the chest. Exhale starting in the chest, down between the ribs, and then out of the lower belly. Repeat this calming breath pattern anywhere from 5-10 minutes, directing your focus to the sensation of your breath each time your mind wanders. Do your best to maintain deep, full breaths throughout the entirety of the practice.

See also How to Practice Sama Vritti Pranayama (Box Breathing)

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Balasana
Christopher Dougherty

Spread your knees mat width and sit your hips back toward your heels. Extend your arms out long and place your forehead on your mat. This posture allows you to begin to work into the hips where a lot of tension and emotion are held in the body. Placing the forehead on the mat can create a supported and grounding sensation to allow the mind and body to relax and release any tension. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

See also Child’s Pose

Thread the needle

Thread the needle
Christopher Dougherty

Staying in child’s pose, reach your right arm beneath your body, extending it out to the left. Keep your arm at shoulder height and face your palm toward the ceiling. The shoulders are another place in the body that we hold a lot of tension in times of stress. This posture is great for releasing tension and tightness in the shoulders. Breathe into the sensation the body is creating in this posture, relaxing deeper on your exhales. Hold for five breaths and switch sides. 

See also 10 Sequences For Tight Neck and Shoulders

Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana – Bitilasana)

Cat-Cow
Christopher Dougherty

Make your way to table-top, stacking hips over knees and shoulders above wrists. On an inhale drop your belly toward the ground and take your gaze up to the ceiling creating a dramatic c curve in the spine. On an exhale push the ground away arching the spine and take your gaze toward your navel. Alternating between these postures allows us to link breath to movement creating a meditation in motion. Repeat for five cycles.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Christopher Dougherty

From table top, walk your hands slightly forward and away from the midline and push your hips up and back into downward facing dog. Spread your fingers wide and extend the arms out long pressing through the palms of the hand. Keep a long neutral spine even if you need to bend your knees slightly to do so. Hold for five breaths. 

See also Dig Deeper in Down Dog

Warrior II (Virhabadrasana II)

Virhabadrasana II
Christopher Dougherty

Keep your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle, stacking your knee above your ankle ensuring it does not bend past the ankle. Fire up your back leg lifting the knee cap to engage the quadriceps and root through the outside edge of your back foot firmly. Extend the arms out long at shoulder height and gaze over the middle finger of your front hand. Engage your arms and relax the shoulders and neck. Hold for five breaths.

See also Tap the Wisdom of the Warrior

Rag Doll (Uttanasana)

Uttanasana- Rag Doll
Christopher Dougherty

Step to the front of your mat and stand with feet hips width apart. Fold deeply over your legs, bending the knees generously so that the back body can remain neutral and can fully release and relax. Reach for opposite elbows and allow your weight to hang over your legs. Relax the body and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.

See also Forward Bend Yoga Poses

Waterfall

Waterfall
Christopher Dougherty

Lie on your back and place block beneath the sacrum to elevate it. Extend your legs toward the ceiling, allowing a soft bend in the knees. Let your legs relax and allow the eyes to close. Hold for ten breaths.

See also Do Less, Relax More: Legs-Up-the-Wall-Pose

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Supta Baddha Konasana
Christopher Dougherty

Lying on your back, bring the souls of the feet together and let the knees splay out wide. For more of a sensation in the hips, bring the feet closer to the body. Allow your body to surrender into the earth and breathe into the sensation in the hips. Hold for ten breaths.

See also A Yoga Sequence for Deep Hip Opening

Savasana

Savasana
Christopher Dougherty

Allow your body to extend out long, reaching your feet and legs to the far corners of your mat and spread your arms out long beside you. Allow all tension to melt away, relaxing the face and releasing any engagement in the body. For added grounding, place a rolled blanket over the hips or a bolster beneath the knees. Allow your breath to soften and become natural. Hold for at least five minutes. 

See also Tempted to Skip Savasana? 10 Top Yoga Teachers Explain Why It’s the Most Important Pose. 

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