Lately my brain has been going really fast. When I can’t seem to get it to slow down, I move. Somehow if feels like if I can get my body going as fast as my brain then I’ll outrun the thoughts. Sometimes running seems like the only option. However, more often than not, it’s not an option at all.
With kiddo needs, school needs, work needs, and two little ones who are ever present with me and can’t quite keep up on a brain-therapy run. . . I need an alternative.
As always. Yoga comes to me, whenever I need it most.
These poses are all working for me, for now, to calm my mind down a moment. I’ll explain why, and maybe they’ll hit home for you too. If not, turn up music and get stretching and moving, maybe you’ll find yours.
Chair Pose; Utkatasana
I start here. It’s not conventional to start a practice here. But if my sole focus is to stop my spin-out. I start with this. And hold, and hold, and hold. Till I can’t think the thoughts I was having, I think about my heels grounding deeply into my mat, I think about my pelvis tucking in, and my shoulders dropping down while my arms reach high. Then I inhale and reach up, and exhale back down again. Usually repeating ten times.
Standing hand to big toe pose; (modified) Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana
After warming my body, and slowing slightly my brain in chair, I move back and forth between feet here. Finding focus, my drishti (focus point), is physically paramount to not falling right over. But it’s mostly mentally really helpful for me to send every racing thought I have forward-out-somewhere else for a moment. It’s balance and relief in a pose.
Once I’ve stood, balanced, and worked these two poses for long enough to begin to feel my body, I move to the mat. Often I do these two poses back and forth for about 10-15minutes as the entirety of my standing practice. This is one of my go-to’s if Sun Salutation isn’t working for my head.
Camel Pose; Ustrasana
I begin with a baby camel, putting my hands gently to my lower back and just lifting my heart. Slowly working deeper into camel, and eventually all the way down. I take deep breaths here, and repeat in five breath intervals. This post is energizing, and heart rate boosting. It feels like it takes the energy I built up in my standing poses and moves it.
Variation on reclined hand to big toes pose, also a favorite progression of happy baby for me.
You can use a strap, bend your knees (wide open, knees up towards arm pits!) for happy baby. Find what feels good here. This is the point where I can usually start to just breath. Not thinking so much. Feeling how my heart rate has changed, the warmth in my body has grown, and usually this is where I feel like I finally get a brain break from the spiral I was on.
Hang here as long as comfortable. Lower your legs to your mat slowly, engaging your core, and then repeat.
Heart to Earth/Puppy/Melting Heart; Anahatasana
This is where I end. It’s more engagement than childs-pose, and demands me to still pay attention to my body. But it’s still restorative for my muscles. You can prop here (a bolster to lay over would feel amazing), move between this and childs-pose, or just come in and out of this and hero (back onto your knee’s).
I usually take this pose as my savasana when I am working to slow down thoughts or a tough time.
I hope these poses are helpful to you! What other ones do you love when your brain is being a punk? I’d love to add to my arsenal!