Simple Yoga Sequence to open up the Breath Your 10 minute routine 

1. Three Level Breathing. 1 - 5 mins

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet wide and knees together.
Observe how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. 
Start to observe your breath, just simply tuning in to your natural flow. 

a) Place your hands on your belly (below the navel) and feel the breath beneath your hands, take 5 deep breaths in through the nose, out through the nose.
b) Move your hands to your ribcage. Take 5 deep breaths
c) Move your hands to your upper chest. Take 5 deep breaths  

We are going to inhale into each area for the count of 2, pause and then when full of air exhale slowly for 6. 

Inhale into belly for 2 counts pause for 2 counts.
Inhale into the ribcage for 2 pause for 2 counts.
Inhale into the chest for 2 pause.  Then
Exhale fully and slowly for the count of 6. 

Repeat this sequence for 5 – 10 rounds depending on time.  Notice how you feel at the end of each round.  By deepening your awareness of your breath we can learn to connect with the diaphragm fully which stimulates the para-sympathetic nervous system inducing feelings of calm and relaxation. 

jess horn inspiration space yoga teacher

jess horn inspiration space yoga teacher

2. Sit, See and Breathe.  2 - 5 mins

Start your practice sitting up, find a comfortable seat, perhaps on a firm cushion to enable a long spine. 

Close the eyes and feel the physical body. 

Observe how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. 

Start to observe your breath, just simply observing the natural flow. 

Begin to deepen your breath and as you do so, observe where the breath moves in the body. Feel the body expand with the inhale and soften with the exhale. What else do you feel/notice as you breathe?  Is it easy, a struggle, does it feel tight or is there a natural, open flow? Simply observe, try not to judge.

1) Inhale for a count of 4. Exhale for 6. Repeat for ten rounds.  Breathing through the nose, slow even full breaths.  

2) Now add a small breath retention. Breathing in for 4. Hold for 2. Exhale for 6. Repeat again for 10 rounds.  Observe the breath travelling up the spine with your inhale and back down the spine to the tail bone with your exhale. 

 

 

3. Cat to Cow Pose - Ribcage Opening. 2 minutes

Come to all fours with the hands directly under the shoulders and knees underneath the hips.
On the inhale arch the spine gently lifting and broadening the chest and on the exhale round the upper back, draw the navel to the spine and gaze towards your belly.  Now make your way into downward dog in point 4.

4. Lift into Downward facing dog 2 minutes

Hands and feet on the floor as in cat / cow, hands shoulder width, spread the fingers and press the palms into the mat, feet hip width and parallel. Lift the buttocks up into Downward facing dog pose.
Hold for 5 breaths peddling legs, bending one knee then the other and then drop the knees to the floor and take your bum to your heels in to Childs Pose.

 

Childs pose great for stress relief and opening the back of the ribcage

Childs pose great for stress relief and opening the back of the ribcage


5. Childs Pose. Tune into the Breath. 1 minute

Let your hips relax and really tune into your breath, can you feel the breath in the belly? The Ribcage? The front body? The back body?  We are then going to put all three together. 

Childs pose – Cat/Cow – Dog - Cat/Cow – Child's pose. 

On an inhale come up to your hands and knees and arch the spine gently, on your exhale, press the hands and fingers into the mat, draw the navel towards the spine, arching the spine upwards, towards the ceiling. Inhale, lift your seat into Downward facing dog, stay for 3 breaths and then on an exhale drop the knees, inhale arch the spine, lift the head towards the sky (cat) and exhale and return to child's pose. Repeat this for 5 rounds.

6. Standing Forward Fold

Walk your feet forward to your hands and come into a loose rag doll forward fold, knees bent, hold onto the elbows and see how heavy you can make the hands, arms and back feel. Imagine with every breath that the spine is getting longer.  With bent knees slowly roll up to standing vertebrae by vertebrae. Take 5 deep breaths and then slowly roll back down. 

7. Supine Spinal Twist

Lie on your back and gently draw the knees into the chest. Drop the knees to the left with the arms out at shoulder height and turn your head to the right, take 10 deep breaths.  Slowly and carefully inhale back to centre and lift up the hips and lay them back down. Repeat on the other side by dropping knees to the right and turn head to the left, take the gaze over the left fingertips, face should be soft, jaw relaxed.

8. Relaxation

Lie on your back for at least 2 minutes, let go of any control over the breath and just relax. If the mind is wandering simply come back to observing the natural breath. To come out slowly hug knees into chest, gently massage the lower back by rocking gently, then roll onto your right side, rest for a few breaths.
Come gently up to sitting and bring your hands to your heart centre and observe how you feel at the end of your practice. Thank yourself for taking the time to look after yourself and set a positive intention for the day ahead. 

Repeat this routine daily for 21 days and notice the difference in body, breath and mind.

"the expert in anything was once a beginner"