Yoga does many things. Some practice it to improve flexibility and others just want to increase muscle strength. The casual yoga practitioner tends to pick it up to experience the relaxation benefits this practice has to offer. Your yoga sessions might not be as relaxing as you want them to be.
If you can't travel to one of the yoga retreats around the world, there are some things you can do at home to decompress and loosen up.
The Advantage of Yoga Retreats
Just why are yoga retreats so relaxing?
One of the things yoga teacher training teaches students is to make yoga a special time. Dedicate an entire area to it. We naturally associate certain things with unwinding. A beach on a hot day is one example of this. You can do the same thing at home.
Find a space in your home which you can dedicate to yoga. Fill it with items designed to make you lose all of that pent up energy. It can include incense, scented candles, or landscape pictures.
Use this exclusively for yoga and your mind will quickly associate this area with downtime.
Discover the Correct Technique
Yoga is such a popular past-time because it has something to offer beginners and experts. Beginners with a lack of flexibility and mobility can enjoy it just as much as an expert wrapping their limbs in all sorts of difficult positions.
Only you know where your limits are. Strengthening your muscles isn't what you want to do here. Relaxation shouldn't involve stretching yourself until you can feel burning within your arms and legs. It should feel comfortable.
The correct techniques are those which allow you to enter your â€˜zen' state of mind. It might take a few sessions to find the things which work best.
You may find my another post on increasing flexibility in Yoga of benefit if you are still struggling with some of the more complex poses
Focus on Breathing
When we're stressed we don't breathe as well as we should. Try it. At work, suddenly stop and see how you're breathing. Instead of breathing through our bellies and fully expanding the diaphragm your breaths are short and sharp. They never do more than just expand the chest. In other words, we're doing enough to survive but we're putting our bodies under stress.
Place deep breathing techniques at the centre of yoga. Let the carbon dioxide and oxygen flow in and out of your body. Taking a deep breath does so much for removing stress from your life.
Slow it Down
Yoga classes might have a teacher who blazes through the techniques. This works well for pushing your body and making each part more flexible. Relaxation should be methodical and slow. If you don't normally have dedicated decompressing sessions for yoga, try to slow everything down.
Hold every pose for a few seconds and leave a small gap between different poses for some deep breathing. Imagine yourself in slow motion.
There are all sorts of yoga environments. Recently, sportspeople have taken up hot yoga where they perform poses in a hot environment which makes them sweat. It makes the joints suppler.
Find a balance between hot and cold. The environment shouldn't become a factor. It should feel mild and cool. In other words, at the end of your session you shouldn't be sweating profusely.
Relaxing yoga focuses on the inside of the body and bringing everything back into balance. Ignore any thoughts about developing strength and flexibility. You're allowing everything to unwind by participating in this form of yoga.
Give Yourself Time
Don't put yourself under pressure. This is why many yoga classes fail to make their students relax. Setting a time limit keeps you watching the clock. Instead, take as long as you need to get into the right state of mind.