“If you get too tired. Learn to rest not to quit.” Banksy
The RELAXATION series is the easiest of the 5 core disciplines so it is a good one to start with, especially if you are a newbie to yoga. Riding and other lifestyle habits can leave you feeling tight, sore and low in energy. These gentle yoga sequences are designed to help you feel more relaxed, supple and to ease those aches and pains. They incorporate 4 primary elements:
1. CONSCIOUS BREATHING
When you’re tense, your sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ mode is in overdrive. Your heart rate increases, your muscles contract and your breathing gets short and shallow. The simplest and most effective way to switch to the parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ mode is to breathe slowly and deeply from the diaphragm. This induces the relaxation response which calms you down and helps you to feel more clear and focussed.
2. GENTLE MOVEMENT
Tight hips, lower back, neck and shoulders can cause discomfort and get in the way of riding. In relaxing yoga routines, we move slowly and carefully through poses designed to mobilise the joints, restore proper range of motion, relieve stiffness and improve ease of movement. As you transition between the poses, try to focus your attention on the physical sensations you’re feeling to increase your body awareness. This will draw your attention to areas of pain or discomfort that are the warning signs of future injuries.
3. LIGHT STRETCHING
How good does it feel to stretch after a deep sleep or a long time stuck in the same position? We instinctively move in a way that realigns our bodies and releases tension from our muscles after periods of inactivity. In this series, we cycle through backbends, forward bends, sidebends, twists and hip openers to relieve tightness throughout the body. After a few sessions, you’ll find that muscular tension caused by stress, injury, inactivity, poor health, pain or overtraining is released.
4. GUIDED MEDITATION
At the end of the session, when your body is in a state of deep rest and relaxation, I’ll guide you through a short relaxation meditation. Focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body will give you a brief escape from the incessant flow of thoughts in your mind. Here are some of the benefits of meditation:
- Quietens restlessness and agitation in the mind.
- Gives you peace from worries, regrets, rumination, and overthinking.
- Teaches you to be more aware of stress and anxiety in your body.
- Relieves anxiety.
- Helps you to develop a greater capacity for focus and concentration.
- Reduces the psychological suffering caused by physical pain.
- Improves your mood and general sense of wellbeing.
- Enhances your sleep quality.
WHO SHOULD DO THE RELAXATION SERIES?
I’m guessing, all of you.