Our minds are constantly humming with thoughts and distracted by our busy schedules, long to-do lists and responsibilities. But just as our body needs to rest our mind does too. Although it can be difficult to switch our busy brains off and allow ourselves to tune into our bodies, a beautiful yoga flow is a wonderful way to anchor your focus to your body, invite in peace and release any tension your body is holding on to.
In the video below, our incredible yoga instructor Lauren runs us through a brief calming and grounding yoga flow you can do anytime, anywhere.
If you would like to practise this flow at your own pace, below is Lauren’s guide and instructions for you to follow.
“Namaste and welcome to your yoga practice.
The guide below takes you through a beautiful grounding yoga flow. To begin, you may like to incorporate some beauty for your senses. Perhaps you might like to light a candle, diffuse some beautiful essential oils or burn some incense. You might even like to pick a flower from your garden as a beautiful way to set the scene for your grounding yoga flow and connect with nature.
You may also like to use a couple of props. Perhaps a bolster, cushion or a pillow – anything you might have at home. You may also like to grab a tie, it’s not necessary though. All you really need is your beautiful body.
Below are the poses we will be flowing through today.
- Corpse pose (Shavasana)
- Full body stretch/arms above head, straight legs, point toes
- Hug knees to chest (Apanasana)/circles – open knees wide/circles
- Nose to knee crunches (Supta Pavanmuktasana)
- Universal spinal twist (Shara Udarakarshanasana)
- Raised leg pose (Uttanpadasana)
- Ankle bending (Goolf Naman)/ankle rotation (Goolf Chakra)
- Toe bending (Padanguli Naman)
- Knee rotations/hip rotations/scissor kicks
- Cycling (Pada Sanchalanasana)
- Straight leg float
- Yogic complete breath (Maha Yoga Pranayama)
- Rock up to sitting
- Easy sitting pose (Sukhasana)
- Controlled neck rotations
- Shoulder shrugs – rotate shoulders clockwise and anti-clockwise
- Table pose (Bharmanasana)
- Cat stretch pose (Marjariasana)
- Cow stretch pose (Bitilasana)
- Rod pose (Dandasana)
- Back stretching pose (Paschimottanasana)
- Open half-spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendranasa)
- Easy sitting pose (Sukhasana)
- Prayer hands (Namaskar Mudra)
When you are ready, take a moment to relax. Rest your body down, inviting in softness and lightness.
Corpse pose (Shavasana)
Allow your feet to fall out to either side and keep your arms nice and relaxed with your palms facing up, which is the gesture for giving and receiving. During your practice, remain open to receiving beautiful focus and clarity.
Take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth. Allow your body to relax, feeling the earth’s support beneath you.
Full body stretch
Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms above your head and across the earth, pointing the toes away in the opposite direction. Feel the beautiful length in your body and take a moment to drop out of your mind and feel present within your body.
Feel your body lengthen and take three deep breaths. Float your arms down by your side and start to bend your knees. You may wish to float your feet off the ground and into the air, and you’re welcome to wrap your arms around your legs if it feels comfortable for you to do so.
Hug knees to chest (Apanasana)
In this position, you’re giving yourself a beautiful embrace or a cuddle. Relax your shoulders and gently rock from side to side, side to side. Be mindful of truly embodying your movements today. Feel that beautiful massage on the sides of the spine. And then return back to stillness.
Float your hands onto your knees and ease them away from your chest, lengthening your arms. Create three circles here and feel that beautiful massage all the way down to the tip of your tailbone. Reverse your circles in the opposite direction. Endeavour to become more intimate with your breath today.
Now, open your knees nice and wide and really relaxed into this position, letting go of any rigidness in your body. Take three deep breaths here, lubricating your hip joints and allowing yourself to open up more and more. And eventually, do three circles in the opposite direction.
Bring the knees back together.
Nose to knee crunches (Supta Pavanmuktasana)
Interlace your fingers and start to hug your right knee towards your chest and lengthen your left leg down to the earth. Again, notice your shoulders and ensure they’re soft and relaxed. If you’d like to feel a little more, slightly hover your left leg off the earth.
Press both sets of toes away. From here, we’re coming up for our tummy crunches. As you breathe in, lift up your face, peel your shoulders away from the ground, and face your lips towards your knee. Exhale down. Inhale rising. Exhale down. Inhale lips towards your knee. Exhale. Then relax the left leg.
Universal spinal twist (Shara Udarakarshanasana)
Place your left hand on the outside of the right knee and extend the right arm at shoulder height across the earth, palm facing up. With your left hand, press the right leg across the body and the knee down towards the earth, perhaps even touching the knee down on the ground.
Now, gently turn your head over the right shoulder, feeling a lovely twist in your spine. Imagine that you’re detangling and unravelling. You’re letting go of tension, particularly through the muscles around your spine. At the same time, you’re allowing gravity to draw your right shoulder down towards the earth.
Do a deep breath in through the nose and out through the nose. Do a loving breath in and a cleansing breath out. One more breath just like this.
Ease the right knee back to centre and give your knee a big squeeze towards your chest or even towards the armpit to really open up. And then after your big squeeze, release the right leg next to the left. Give your legs a gentle wiggle here and just notice the subtle differences. Your hip should feel more open on the right side.
As you breathe in, hug the left knee in towards your chest and give it a big squeeze, being mindful of relaxing your shoulders. If you wish, slightly hover your right leg off the earth, pointing both sets of toes away.
Setting up for your tummy crunches as you breathe in, lift your face and peel your shoulders off the mat. Exhale. Inhale, rising for a kiss on the knee. Exhale. Repeat one more time. Keep the movement nice and slow and controlled. Relax the right leg to the earth.
Place your right hand on the outside of this knee, lengthening your left arm at shoulder height, palm facing up. Use the effort of your right hand to gently press and ease the left knee across the body. Again, listen to your body. Maybe the knee touches down to the earth. Or maybe you feel that release. Anchor your knee in the direction of the earth. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. A loving breath in, cleansing breath out.
Ease the left knee back to centre. Give this knee a big squeeze towards your chest again, perhaps even to your left armpit to open up a little more. Then lengthen your left leg next to your right, and give them a gentle wiggle. Hopefully, you’re feeling more open and fluid through your legs and your hips.
From here, we’re gently picking up the buttocks, floating your fingertips beneath you to frame your tailbone and support your lower back. Another option is to also reach for a cushion if you like.
Raised leg pose (Uttanpadasana)
On the next inhale, elevate the legs, lifting them as high as you can and switch on your core. Keep coming back to your breath. Remember, it’s all about lengthening your inhale and extending your exhale – in through the nose, and out through the nose. You’ll find your legs get heavier, so be gentle with yourself. If you need to rest at any time, that’s perfectly fine – you can simply bend your legs.
Ankle bending (Goolf Naman) / ankle rotation (Goolf Chakra) & Toe bending (Padanguli Naman)
Create little circles with your ankles. The rest of your legs are still and you’re just moving from your ankles down, releasing tension from these joints. Remember, if you hear any sounds, perhaps little cracks, that’s suggesting you’re letting go of tension and stagnant energy, which is a good thing! Then create circles in the opposite direction. This is allowing you to open up and receive beautiful renewed energy.
If you need to rest, please do. Otherwise, create a little bend at the knees and move from your lower legs down. From your knees down, notice that you’re lubricating your knee joints this time. It’s a beautiful way to open up and give back to the legs. Remember to breathe. Then, create gentle cycles in the opposite direction. Lengthen the legs nice and tall. If you need a rest, you’re welcome to bend your knees.
When you’re ready, move the legs around in three circles. The whole legs are rotating with this movement. You might even notice a little massage in your organs. Then, create gentle circles in the opposite direction. This is a beautiful way to welcome renewed energy, renewed oxygen and prana into the body. Returning back to stillness, lengthen the legs as though you’re pressing the ceiling away.
Scissor action with legs
From here, hinge one leg forward and one leg back, just like a pair of scissors. Stay nice and controlled. You’ll most likely feel this in your abdominal muscles. Sometimes we have a tendency to hold our breath, so give yourself a gentle reminder to keep coming back to your beautiful deep breathing.
Cycling (Pada Sanchalanasana)
Now, you might start to cycle your legs. Bring beautiful fluidity into your body as it moves freely. Then move in the opposite direction. When you’re ready, you can either bend the legs to relax, or you can lengthen the legs nice and tall.
Straight leg float
In a slow and controlled movement, press the heels away and gradually start to lower the legs down towards the earth. You’ll notice that you’re switching on your core, activating your abdominals and building more and more strength. It will get very heavy as your legs meet the earth but see if you can work on your strength. And then eventually, your legs will touch down.
Relax your legs, unravel your hands and just be mindful of your breath. Invite softness and lightness into your body. Hopefully, you can shift out of a shallow and chesty breath and into a deep, beautiful belly breath.
Yogic complete breath (Maha Yoga Pranayama)
I’ll share with you a beautiful breath that I call the ‘wave breath’. The idea is that we’re using the full capacity of our lungs. Firstly, focus on expanding the belly. You might imagine you’re blowing up a balloon, allowing the air to flow in and expand the ribs and the middle lungs. Then feel the air travel all the way to the top part of your chest to use the full capacity of your lungs. You might imagine a wave and that beautiful wave motion with your breathing.
You’re welcome to rest your hands wherever it’s comfortable, perhaps your left hand on your heart and right hand on your belly. When you’re ready, take a breath out of the nose. As you inhale a long, slow breath, you’re expanding your belly, rising in the ribs, all the way to the top. And as you exhale, you’re completely releasing all of the air from your lungs, just like a wave.
Imagine that with every in-breath, you’re breathing a wave of peace into your body. With every breath out, feel that wave descending out of your body, taking with it anything you don’t want to hold on to. It is a cleansing breath – every breath, breathing in peace and focusing every breath out, letting go of any heaviness, stress or fatigue.
Now, allow yourself to breathe naturally without any effort. You might notice that you take a deeper breath now. That’s a beautiful and gentle way to reset your nervous system. From here, we’re going to have a little bit more fun! The gentle option is to roll to one side and come up for a comfortable seat.
Rock up to sitting
For the fun part, bend the knees and float the feet off the earth. Cross over the ankles and reach through your legs to grasp onto the big toes. Start to press your knees towards your chest. With momentum, have a couple of rock and rolls. It might not happen the first time, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to judge or beat yourself up, you’re just having a bit of fun! Sometimes we lose that playfulness as we get older, so that’s a beautiful way to allow a gentle smile to fall upon your face.
Easy sitting pose (Sukhasana)
You’re welcome to take a seat, and you might reach for your cushion or your bolster if you have one. Really focus inwards on your body now, connecting yourself with nature. You might imagine from your waist down that you’re nice and stable and solid. And as you float your awareness up your spine, through your neck and to your crown that you’re light, tall, and lengthened. Relax your shoulders and remain mindful of your posture.
Controlled neck rotations
On the next in-breath, pick up the chin, drop the head back and exhale, breathing freely as you sweep your chin across the sky from one shoulder to the other. Really allow your chin to draw back so you get that beautiful stretch and extension through the front of your neck. You might even hear some sounds here, signals from your body that it’s letting go of tension.
It’s important to stretch the neck like this, particularly when we’re in front of devices a lot of the time or sitting at a desk. It’s a gentle way to give back to yourself. Eventually, return your chin to a neutral position.
On the next inhale, prepare to slide your chin down your chest as you breathe out. Notice the length in your spine. We’re not slouching forward, we’re nice and long. As you breathe freely, sweep your chin across your chest from shoulder to shoulder. Allow your head to hang heavy. The more that your chin slides down your chest, the better it will feel – a beautiful release through the back of your neck. Some days our range of motion is different, just notice how it feels for you today. When you’re ready, return back to the centre.
Generally speaking, in yoga we breathe in through the nose and out through the nose. But for this exercise, I like to breathe out of the mouth. Take a deep breath in, lifting up the shoulders and as we exhale breathe out of the mouth.
Rotate shoulders clockwise and anti-clockwise
Float the fingertips to the shoulders to slide them away from your ears. As we inhale, bring the elbows forward and up. As we exhale, move them down and back. Connect your own breath with this movement. Inhale as you float forward and up. Exhale as you float down and back. Relax into that rotation. You’re welcome to go in the opposite direction as well.
Again, it will be different every day. Just listen to your own strengths and limitations, perhaps one shoulder might need a little bit more attention. Complete one more round and then roll over onto hands and knees.
Table pose (Bharmanasana)
Ensure that you have the distance of two fists between your knees so that they are positioned under your hips and your hands are placed down to the earth. All the joints in your arms are aligned and your fingers are wide so that the whole surface of your hands are grounded to the earth. Your gaze is between your hands, maintaining a neutral spine.
Cat stretch pose (Marjariasana)
As you inhale, create an arch in your back and depress your navel to your spine, tilting your tailbone up and gazing towards the ceiling.
Cow stretch pose (Bitilasana)
Exhale, drop the head and arch the spine towards the ceiling. Move at a rate and a pace that suits your beautiful body. No competition, no comparison – you’re just doing what feels good for you. This position allows you to open up your spine. When your spine is healthy, all the other systems in your body follow.
When you’re ready, return back to a neutral spine. From here, move the feet to one side.
Rod pose (Dandasana)
Take a seat at the back of your mat, your legs stretched out nice and long. This is the option if you would like to reach for your tie. If you don’t have a tie, it doesn’t matter. It could be a scarf or anything that you have at home. We’re working on our length here.
Imagine now that you’re creating the letter ‘L’, so your spine is nice and long and so are your legs. Roll back the shoulders. You may notice that your legs are rather passive, so to enable them to become active, lift the heels off the earth and feel your legs switch on. Then connect your heels to the earth.
Back stretching pose (Paschimottanasana)
Float your hands to your heart. As you inhale, lift up tall. As you exhale, float the hands to shoulder width and hinge forward. You can always scoop up the front of your feet with your tie if you like, which helps you achieve a deeper stretch. Feel that beautiful length through your spine. Sometimes it’s tempting to cave and fold forward, but it’s more about the length in the spine, extending the spine, and elevating the heart. You can use your breath to help you. Some of you may touch your toes and if that’s the case, you’re welcome to press the balls of your feet away to intensify your stretch. Relax your shoulders and then eventually return the hands to the heart – Namaskar mudra.
Open half-spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendranasa)
Pick up your left foot, crossing it over the right knee and come into a beautiful open twist. Float the left hand onto the left foot, sweeping your right arm into the sky and touchdown towards the earth, being mindful that you’re not collapsing back. It’s a lift and then a twist, relaxing the shoulders.
Notice your breath. Take a deep breath in, then a deep breath out. A loving breath in, cleansing breath out.
Sweep up the right hand and then enter the Namaskar mudra prayer position. Lengthening your left leg, pick up your right foot and cross it over the left, lengthening your spine and relaxing your shoulders. Place your right hand onto your right foot and sweep your left arm into the sky, then touch it down lightly to the earth.
You can think of your spinal twist as a detox for the body. Imagine that your organs are like a sponge or a dish cloth – we’re squeezing, twisting and wringing out the toxins that could have been stored here. Lift up your back hand and bring your hands to prayer Namaskar mudra. Lengthen your legs and give them a little wiggle.
Easy sitting pose (Sukhasana)
Cross the legs in the opposite direction. Feel your connection with the earth. Lengthen the spine, soften the shoulders, and hold your chin parallel to the earth. Know that you have the earth beneath you, sky above you, and peace within you. Hopefully, after your flow today you’re able to float out of your head and feel yourself in your beautiful body.
Prayer hands (Namaskar Mudra)
You might bring your hands together in front of your heart Namaskar mudra. You can even rest your thumb on your sternum, feeling into your heart space. You may want to close your eyes or you can have a soft, gentle gaze.
Notice the warmth in your hands. Notice how you feel. You might have found that as you were flowing today, you were connecting your breath with beautiful movements and allowing yourself to connect with that beautiful element of peace that’s within you. Remember that it’s always there, just waiting for you to slow down to connect with it.
You might lower your lips to your fingertips and perhaps bow forward and say ‘Namaste’. Namaste means the goodness in me sees the goodness in you.
I appreciate you for committing to your yoga practice and hopefully, you feel a lot more balanced, grounded and connected.”