Often when we come a yoga class, yoga teachers will often incorporate both asana (physical yoga postures), pranayama (breath work) and, sometimes even a short meditation to begin or close the class. When we begin feeling benefits from these practices, our curiosity might start to go further and maybe the possibility of including meditation into our daily routine.
Meditation is becoming so much more acceptable and accessible. Many business people, celebrities, and generally successful people are now speaking about how meditation not only compliments their life but enriches it to such a great depth. So you fancy trying it out. So you sit…and fidget…and wiggle and can’t seem to get comfortable. Your body is moaning and aching so much just being still, that it can feel impossible to focus on your breath.
This is where everything starts coming together because this is what the physical yoga practice is for: we move in yoga asana to make sitting still in meditation more comfortable.
Try these poses before and experience how your body can feel more at ease, and help you turn inwards:
1. Happy Baby
- Lay down on your back and bring the knees to the armpits.
- Depending on your flexibility either take hold of the backs of the thighs, the ankles or the feet.
- Then keeping the lower back on the ground, ease the knees towards the sides of the body to bring mobility to the hips.
- On your back place the feet flat on the floor with the knees pointing upwards. press down with your feet to lift the hips up.
- Lift the chest towards the chin and interlace your hands behind your back.
- Hug the shoulder blades towards one another to feel spaciousness around your neck, shoulders, and chest.
3. Lounge Lunge
- From all fours step the right foot forward to the inside of the right hand.
- Place the right hand around the shin, forearm along the thigh.
- Left hand about 8-10 inches in front of the right toes. As you exhale, allow the left hip to roll down towards the floor. This will give a juicy side stretch as we as loosening the hips. Repeat on the other side.
4. Half Pigeon
- From all fours, bring your right knee either behind or outside of the right wrist and then walk the left foot back so the hips lower to the floor. Use a brick if you wish under the hip to support.
- Any knee issues, make sure to back off and shorten the ankle in the right knee.
- To deepen the pose give a larger angle in the right knee. Repeat on the other side.
5. Seated Twist
- From a simple seated position, the right hand comes over to the left knee.
- Inhale lift the ribs, exhale and twist to the left keeping the spine and neck extended and shoulders relaxed.
- Swap the cross of the legs and twist to the other side.
6. Seated with Eagle Arms
- In your seated position, bring the elbows on top of each other in front of the chest and then the hands up to the vertical to either grab each other or on hand grabs the wrist or thumb on the opposite.
- Press the elbows forward to stretch the upper back. If grabbing the hands is unavailable the hold opposite shoulders and do the same. Swap sides.
Remember: support your seated position if your knees are higher than your hips, so that the hips can relax down. Think of the knees to be in line with the hips rather than above. And if none of this feels comfortable then sit on a chair.
Remember the words of Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam: Posture should be steady and comfortable.
Craig Norris – Yogaia Yoga Teacher
Experience the benefits of practicing yoga before sitting in meditation for yourself! Every Friday morning (GMT), join me live from London in a 30-minute Vinyasa Flow, followed by a 15 minute guided meditation.
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