This is a great relaxation exercise to try any time you feel tired, stressed, angry or frustrated. It is also very helpful if you can’t fall asleep.
Begin with a gentle warm up, and then start your relaxation with tree pose. Stand tall, find a still point to focus on, and imagine your feet rooting firmly into the ground. Slowly lift one leg and bring the sole of your foot to the inside of your standing leg. Press your foot and leg into each other to keep you steady, and reach your arms up to the sky. Take several deep breaths and imagine the cool fall breeze blowing by; Feel the warmth of the sun and see your leaves slowly turning to beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. Gently lower down and move to the other side.
When you have completed your tree pose on both sides, lower down to the mat and rest in savasana. Lay down on your back, with your feet falling to the sides and your palms open to the sky.
Close your eyes and allow your whole body to relax. Let your feet relax, let your legs sink into the mat, allow your belly and your back to get soft and heavy, feel your arms melt and let your neck and head be totally supported by the ground. Imagine that your yoga mat slowly turns to a soft pile of autumn leaves; Let your body sink in and hear them crunching underneath you. Take a deep breath and smell the crisp and earthy air. See above you the clear blue sky, with fluffy white clouds slowly drifting by. Maybe you see a flock of birds heading south for the winter, flying together in a perfect V shape. Then in your mind see the trees all around you, getting ready for the winter. Watch the leaves turning their vibrant colors. See them shudder and flutter, dancing all the way to the ground as the wind blows. All around you the leaves fall, surrounding you with their cozy warmth.
Keep breathing slow and steady. Watch the leaves fall until you feel completely at surrounded; resting in your pile of leaves. Stay here for as long as you want, being nourished by the crisp autumn air and the warm sun.
When you are ready to get up, take a deep breath and stretch your body from fingertips to toes. Keep your eyes closed, curl up and roll onto one side. Slowly sit up and take a minute or two to focus on your breath. Gently open your eyes, and try to keep that peaceful feeling with you throughout the rest of your day.
This is a simple activity that many students (adults and kids alike!) get into and don’t want to get out of.
It is a safe and comfortable way of offering loving contact and invites partners to expand their awareness outside of their own bodies. Children often say they feel calmer and more comfortable in this practice then they do practicing breath work on their own. It is very supportive and a great way to start introducing partner poses to children.
1. Begin sitting up as tall as possible and back to back with a partner. You can place your legs however is most comfortable for you.
2. Take a few deep breaths on your own and feel the support of your partner behind you, doing the same thing. You may close your eyes, or keep them focused on one point. It may be useful to bring your hands to your heart or belly here.
3. After a few rounds of calming breath on your own, notice if you can feel the breath of your partner.
4. If you are able to notice your partner’s breath, begin to explore the quality of their breath (long/short, shallow/deep, choppy/smooth, etc.) and perhaps where you feel it most strongly connecting to your body.
5. After a few rounds of noticing each others breath, you may begin to sync up the rhythm of your breath and notice how this feels to be breathing together.
6. You can stay here as long as you feel comfortable and connected.