By Joselin Hernandez
As we ring in the new year, fitness goals are set forgetting stress management is just as important in achieving a healthier new you. Yoga is a great way to release stress after a long day of work. This practice can seem daunting to those new to the practice but fret not. This beginner flow is designed for those who are unfamiliar with the practice and designed for an easy and restful night.
To begin, I recommend a thick blanket for those who do not own a yoga mat. Place it near a wall with enough space; this will help you later on in your practice. Sitting down with your legs crossed, called the easy pose, it is time to focus on your breath. This is a great way to wind down your day, allowing you to be in the present and aware of the places where stress is being held throughout your body. For now, do not worry about how straight your back should be in the easy pose; simply contract your midsection to the best of your ability.
Begin inhaling for three to six seconds, expanding your midsection away from you and exhaling to bring it back. Do these three to four times, each time releasing your worries and stresses of the day. Once you are in tune with your breath slowly begin doing shoulder rolls. Roll your shoulders in a backwards motion four times and then in a forward motion four times. This releases tension and stress held by your shoulder blades. When you are finished, inhale bringing your arms over your head and exhale bringing your hands to your chest. From here allow your head to fall forward to begin your next pose.
Slowly begin to roll your head to the right in a full circle, do this three times, and then to the left three times. If your neck is tighter than expected focus on only doing half circles until it begins to loosen-up. Let go of the full weight of your head to release the stress it had held onto. Once you are finished, return to the easy pose and lift the crown of your head up. From here it is time to utilize the wall in your practice.
To get into the wall pose lift your legs up the wall so that the back of your legs are fully resting against the wall while your back is on the ground. Your hands can be placed on either your stomach or to your sides. This pose allows your mind and body to relax whilst improving circulation. Remain here for three to five minutes remembering to take deep breaths to heal the remaining tension throughout your body.