“You can be deeply certain, and slightly doubtful. You can be scared and really, really ready.” Danielle Laporte
On Sunday I had my first meet up with my Yoga Teacher Training crew. I wish I could say it was a delightful experience and in truth it was a lovely enough day but at the core I have to admit to being totally terrified – terrified of how much there is to learn & fit into my already busy schedule, terrified at the depth of experience it will be and terrified my already shaky self-confidence will not cut it. Only not doing Yoga Teacher Training is not an option. If it wasn’t for the financial investment already made I’d still have to deal with my deep yearning, my pitta fever to “do it and think later”, my love-affair with yoga which has been bubbling away for years, my longing to incorporate more of it into my days and share it.
So gather yourself girl, this might be a rocky road ahead for your inner fears but with potentially immense benefits.
I’m not a teacher yet, but from the shallow depth of my personal experience here are 3 yoga poses I recommend for soothing your nerves.
Balasana – the Child pose for recovery, rest, letting go of all that’s not needed. Child’s pose is great to alleviate stress and anxiety. Sit on your heels then open up your knees to hips width. Fold forward, arms to the sides, palms of the hands facing up and making sure to keep your butt down towards the heels as much as possible whilst lengthening the back and the neck before placing your forehead on the floor. Release all tension and stay in the pose for as long as you need.
Virabhadrasana I – Warrior for courage, strength and being in your own power. It is energising and grounding at the same time. This is a standing pose, with feet together take a big step back with either the right or left foot (the other stays grounded). Align your heels and turn the front of your back foot slightly out. Bending your front leg making sure that your knee never comes over the front of the foot (your lower leg is in a vertical position) make sure that your back foot is fully flat on the ground (re-adjust feet if needed to find the distance between feet that works for you). The bridge of the foot is slightly engaged. Your hips are square and facing forward. Sink down as much as you can but only as far as is comfortable. Your upper body in a vertical position, bring your arms up either with palms of the hands facing each other, fingers reaching for the sky – or interlacing the hands, index fingers pressing against each other shooting up. Breathe fully and deeply for at least 5 breaths.
Savasana – the corpse pose goes deeper than an asana (yoga pose) when paired with Yoga Nidra, the meditative relaxation that ends most yoga classes and it is probably the most powerful tool for relaxation you could find. Use yoga Nidra on its own when in urgent need of rest or stress-relief. For this you need to lie back on your mat, legs hips width apart and feet falling on the side. Your arms should be a little distance away from the body too, palms up and relaxed. Again the key here is to release all possible tension and this is where the yoga nidra sequence comes into effect. It consists in tensing and releasing all parts of the body starting with the feet and up towards the head. It is followed by another sequence calling each body part and organs from toes to top giving each an intention to release tension and stress; and at the end of which you should rest in “yogic sleep”, a state of conscious awareness but deep, deep relaxation (once again, for lack of a better word). Allow yourself a little moment there to refresh. Nadya Andreeva from Spinach & Yoga recently shared a recording you can use at home anytime you’re in need of a wind down or a pick up. Her ayurvedic message focuses particularly on healthy digestion and stress is often a culprit to be addressed when problems arise.
Try these and let me know how you feel.
If you need a little extra you could always call on Pranayama (breathing) techniques to bring you back into your body and your peace. That’s a promise for more material coming your way…
Also please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you would like me to write about a particular subject of interest, a health concern or something you’d like an answer for (Anne@ayurvediclab.com).
And next week we’ll start a 3-part chapter on the doshas, starting with Vata. Until then, namaste!