We’ve all experienced the feeling of our attention being pulled in several different directions at once and just wanting to be able to slow down and focus. Movement can help send more oxygen to the prefrontal cortex – that part of the brain where decisions are made as to what to pay attention to. This sequence is designed to help you de-stress and access the energy required to find focus. It combines breath work and movement to help release anxiety and tension and ends with a moment of stillness so that you can embrace your next task with more focus.
Tadasana (Mountain Poste)
Begin in Mountain Pose, rooting through all four corners of each foot, feeling them connecting into the earth. Inhale and exhale through the nose and observe, without judgement, how your breath feels – is it fast or slow, deep or shallow, warm or cool? Remain here for 10 breaths. On your last inhalation ground down through your feet, lift your chest and come into a gentle backbend. Exhale to come back to centre. On an inhale extend your arms over your head and grasp your right wrist with your left hand, on an exhale bend to the left. Hold here for 5 breaths, on the fifth inhalation coming back to centre and switching sides. Finish in Mountain Pose with your hands by your sides.
Start in Mountain Pose, exhale to fold forward from the hips into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Inhale to come into Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend) with a flat back and straight legs. Exhale to step back into plank. Inhale to tuck the toes and bend the knees and exhale to come all the way down to the floor. Inhale up into Cobra Pose. On an exhale step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). Stay here for 3 breaths. On your fourth exhalation step to the front of your mat into a forward bend. Inhale to half forward bend. Exhale fold forward. Inhale to come all the way back up to standing and exhale bringing your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position) in front of your heard. Repeat three times ensuring that your movements are guided by your breath. Finish in Mountain Pose.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)
From Mountain Pose step the feet wide apart on an exhale. aise the arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively to the sides with the palms facing down. Turn the right foot slightly to the right and the left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Firm the thighs and turn your left thigh outwards so that your ankle is in line with your knee. Exhale and bend the left knee over the left ankle while strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel to the floor. Stay here for 5 breaths. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat on the other side.
Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior)
From Warrior II place the back hand onto the back thigh, flip the palm of the front hand so that it is facing the ceiling and on an exhale reach up and back into reverse warrior. Stay here for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
Come back to Mountain Pose. Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. Balance on the right foot. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you, then cross them in front of your torso so that your right arm is above the left and bend your elbows, place the right elbow into the crook of the left and raise your forearms so that the backs of your hands are facing each other, press the right hand to the right and the left hand to the left so the palms are facing each other, press the palms together (as much as is possible for you), lift your elbows up, and stretch the fingers toward the ceiling. Stay here for 5 breaths, then unwind the legs and come back to Mountain Pose. Repeat for the same length of time with the arms and legs reversed.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Bringing yourself to a kneeling position bring your knees mat width apart with your big toes touching and sit back towards your heels. Exhale to bring your torso between your thighs, bringing your arms out in front of you and rest your head on your mat (or a block)
Come to a comfortable seated pose making sure that your spine is long. Bring your hands to rest on your tummy. Bring your attention to your breath, noticing without judgement, how your breath feels now – is it fast, slow, deep, shallow, cold or warm? Continue to observe your breath as you inhale and exhale for the next 3 minutes. Take one final inhale and as you exhale blink your eyes open.