Life is full of surprises and new adventures, and hopefully – with an open heart and attitude – you can see all of those possibilities unfold before your very own eyes. Sometimes we’re just asleep, or simply not ready to see it. It’s all to be found in your own good time. Yoga teaches you to live life in the present moment, to cherish all that you have, and be grateful for all that you are.
But how? As a teacher, I have found that the poses and the practice itself act as a mirror for your present state of being, as an indication of your true ‘self’. We can only practice and teach from experience: what we believe, and where we’re at any given time. As an example, when you open up deeper into backbends, you’ll notice opportunities will open up around you. To stop for a moment and actually ‘check in’ to notice how you feel, rather than running away from yourself, will give you the power to own your world. Yoga will give you the tools to keep you grounded, rejuvenated, and creating a flexible and strong body, mind, and spirit. It really feeds into all areas of your life, you just need to reflect and be open to it in order to truly feel and see it. It really works!
So here are some tools for you to use when you need them – Miranda swears by them, and given her compassionate, kind and considerate nature, they are clearly working for her!. After all, the practice is there for you – both on and OFF the yoga mat.
This ‘queen’ of all the poses helps to relax your whole body by resting the heart, calming the nervous system and promoting sound sleep.
Lie on your back, hands by your sides, palms down, and lift your legs straight up. You can also lie with your butt and legs against the wall.
For an advanced version, swing your legs over your head, knees bent. Roll your shoulders under your body and place your hands on your back. Inhale and lift your legs halfway up. Keep the pressure off your neck by taking the weight into your shoulders and arms. Keep your legs and feet engaged and your chin tucked in. Stay here or lift your legs straight up and walk your hands to your outer ribs. Press your hands into your back. Keep your chest open and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. To release, gently bend your knees towards the floor behind you and roll down to the ground.
This pose allows you to embrace and ‘go for it’. You’ll feel energised and full of beans after this pose. I’d strongly recommend you practice after forward bends and not before going to bed! It opens the chest and lungs, tones and strengthens the arms and legs.
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip-width apart and palms down. As you exhale, roll up slowly from your buttocks and lower and middle spine.
Roll your shoulders under your body and keep your chin tucked into your throat. If you can, interlace your hands. Press firmly into your big toes to ensure you’re working your inner and outer leg muscles. For an advanced version, inhale and press your hands onto the floor under your shoulders. Exhale and raise your body slowly to form an arch. Keep your arms straight and legs active. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
As you turn and twist it releases and removes any situation you may be holding onto. It gives you the power to see life from every perspective. Increases spinal flexibility, opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens and massages the abdominal organs and stimulates digestion. Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right leg and place the foot on the outside of the left thigh. Inhale and raise your left arm. Exhale and place your left elbow outside your right knee. Turn your head to the right and look beyond your shoulder. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you. Lengthen your torso on your inhale and turn further on your exhale. Hold and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
This pose gives you strength and determination to follow your dreams. It builds strength in the legs, belly and upper body.
Stand at the long edge of your mat and feet one leg distant apart. Turn your right foot out to face the top of the mat and bend your right knee, making sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Angle the back foot at 45 degrees and keep it flat on the floor. Inhale your arms overhead and out to the side, shoulder height. Stay looking forward at your front middle finger. Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths or longer. Repeat on the other side.
This pose is very grounding and balancing (on all levels). It helps to build strength in the legs, opens the hips and stabilises the sacrum.
Stand with your feet together. Lift your right heel onto your left ankle bone. Stay here or lift your foot and press it into your inner leg, below or above the knee (but not on the knee). Press your palms together. Move the knee of the raised leg out to the side to open up the hips. Look directly ahead. Keep your legs active and belly strong. Lengthen your torso on every inhale. Press deeper into your standing foot on every exhale. Breathe deeply and hold for 5-10 breaths. Release your foot to the floor on your exhale and then inhale to repeat on the other side.
Miranda always gives herself time at the start and end of her daily yoga practice to sit quietly in meditation finding inner stillness and peace. You can incorporate any of these poses into a dynamic sequence to absorb its benefits. Remember that your practice is with you wherever you are. It’s wonderful to experience the space of tranquillity once your surrender and let go to the beauty of life’s adventures. You just need to be open to it.
Please lay in savasana after every mini practice, that way you’ll absorb and digest the practice fully, calming your nervous system for your day ahead.