Let’s face it – workdays are stressful. Between runaround mornings, a never ending to-do list during the day and coming home in the evening only to psych yourself up to do it all over again the next day, it’s easy to feel like you’re always playing catch up – I know I certainly am. I’ve been thinking about going to a yoga class to help unwind at the end of the day, but at the moment it feels like just another thing I’d need to schedule into what is usuallyalready a super packed day.
Still, I know that yoga is supposed to be great for relaxation, and I also know that it’s something anyone can take fifteen minutes out of the day to do at home, if they just know the right poses.
It’s this last bit that I needed help with, so I asked Namrata Sudhindra, a certified yoga teacher and expert (and general all round wonderful human being) for some suggestions.
“Because yoga is so centred around your breath, it’s perfect for training your body how to relax,” she says. “Deep breathing is so great for you – it relaxes your nervous and cardiovascular system and slows down your heart rate. This sends signals to your brain, letting it know that it’s time to start healing, restoring and rebuilding."
"That’s why it’s vital to have some sort of a practice which teaches your body to heal itself, and yoga is great for that.” Here are five of her favourite de-stressing poses, all of which require only a wall and a flat surface to execute, although a yoga mat always helps, if you’ve got one around.
"Once you’re done with the previous pose, lower your hips all the way back to the ground. Get as close to the wall as possible so your left hip is touching the wall, then swing your legs up against the wall. Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4-6. And then, just let go of everything – your breath, your body, and just hang free for as long as you like."
“When you’re done, drop your knees to your chest and roll to the right. Stay there for a few breaths and then, using the support of your hands, roll to your right and come up into a seated position, and then walk yourself into a standing posture.
You’ve just done all these inversions and sent blood in the opposite direction, so you don’t want to get up too quickly or you might feel a bit dizzy.
If you’re just starting out, hold each pose for 3-5 minutes. You can go all the way up to 15-20 minutes, if you like. These five techniques aren’t like a traditional yoga class, where you’re focusing on holding a pose for a long period of time – their sole purpose is to help you relax, so let go and enjoy it a little.
Get in your pose, and then just be. If you fall asleep in the middle of it, that’s fine too. You should feel really relaxed and energized at the end of it all!”
As told to Komal Basith. Namrata Sudhindra photographed by Komal Basith at the JW Marriott, Bangalore. All images © Komal Basith.