with Nicole Windle Yoga
Nicole is one of our yoga teachers from the local Nottingham community and throughout lockdown she's been taking all of her classes online. During these strange times Nicole suggests; "We need to look after ourselves more than ever. Yoga and meditation can really help you to centre and ground yourself and help to reduce stress and tension in the mind and in the body."
Here are her 7 yoga poses that you can do at home to pause, connect with yourself and release tension with a gentle stretch and twist. You don’t even need a yoga mat, just a soft floor.
1. Child's pose
Begin on the floor, sitting back on your heels, big toes touching, widen knees and bring your forehead down to the floor, arms stretched out in front, or by the sides of your feet. If your forehead doesn’t come down with ease you can put a pillow or your arms underneath to support. Stay here and take some deep belly breaths.
Lift up onto your hands and knees, hands shoulder width and knees hip width apart. Inhale look forwards, drop your belly, exhale, round the spine and look to your navel. Flow between the movements with your breaths. You can bring in some circular hip, shoulders movements too. Free up your hips!
3. Thread the needle
Inhale reach your right arm up to the sky and then thread it under the left arm and let your shoulder and side of your head come down to the floor. Feeling the stretch and twist in your shoulders and upper spine.
4. Downward facing dog
Tuck your toes, and lift your knees and hips to the sky, creating an inverted V shape with the body. Lengthening your spine, and pedal your feet, one at a time. Feel the stretch down alternate legs.
5. Low lunge
Step 1 foot to the top of your mat, lower your back knee down, raise your arms up to the sky. Feel the stretch around your hips and inner thighs. Hold for 5 breaths. Press back into downward dog and repeat on the other side.
6. Rag doll
From downward dog, step to the top of your mat, knees slightly bent and let your upper body be heavy, arms hanging down to the group or grab opposite elbows. Let your shoulders come up to your ears, flutter your lips, using the exhale to let yourself hang a bit heavier. After a few breaths, release your arms heavy, bend your knees even more, and start to roll up to standing, letting your head come up last.
7. Mountain pose
Stand with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Ground down through all 4 corners of your feet. Switch on your legs, by lifting your knees to your hips. Lift up your pelvic floor muscle, pull navel to spine, lower ribs in, chest open, shoulders relaxed, palms together; left and right side of the body meeting together in front of your chest, head held high. Take some grounding breaths, ready to seize the day!
This can be a great way to start your day, or even during your lunchbreak when you need a moment to pause.
Connecting with yourself and your breath is a powerful tool.
You can also view the full sequence here: