Yoga to clear your mind

Feeling mentally fuzzy and unable to concentrate is a frustrating experience most of us have gone through at one point. You may find yourself reaching for a coffee or energy drink for mental sharpness only to find it makes it even harder to concentrate. An accumulation of stress can cause overactive thinking and make having clear focus nearly impossible. There are many natural ways to clear your mind and ease stress. Yoga is a great practice to help promote mental clarity and sharpness. Try this yoga sequence to clear your mind. 

 

Breath of fire 

Find a comfortable seat. Begin by connecting to your breath, feeling the air as it enters the nostrils and following it with your awareness as it leaves. Keep your spine long and upright and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Take a deep breath in, then begin taking sharp, short exhales out of the nose as you pump your belly, contracting it with each exhale. Continue this pattern for a minute, then take a deep breath in and hold at the top for the count of 10 before letting the air go and returning to your regular breath pattern. 

 

Cat cow 

Come onto your hands and knees into a table top position. Stack your wrists underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Keep a long neutral spine, and on an inhale drop your belly and gaze toward the ceiling. On your exhale, press the mat away and create a c curve with your spine as you tuck your chin into your chest and direct your gaze toward your navel. Continue moving in this pattern at your own pace, linking breath to movement for up to 20 rounds.

 

Puppy pose 

Come back to table top position with a neutral spine. On an exhale, begin  to walk your palms forward, encouraging your chest toward the mat and planting either your forehead or your chin. Keep your palms planted and arms extended out in front of you, engaging your biceps. Breathe into your heart space as you soften deeper with every exhale. Hold for 10 breaths before slowly making your way back up to table top. 

 

Sun salutations 

Start in a downward facing dog and hold for 10 breaths. From downward facing dog, shift forward into a high plank. On an exhale lower all the way to the ground. Inhale place the palms underneath the shoulders and peel the chest off the mat, coming into cobra pose. Exhale shift back through a child's pose and back into downward facing dog.

 

Look between your hands and step or jump up to a forward fold. Inhale reach the arms overhead and come up to stand. Exhale and fold over the legs once more. Inhale place the palms on the shins and straighten out the spine and then exhale plant the hands and step back to plank, lowering all the way to the ground and repeating your vinyasa, meeting back in a downward facing dog and completing 3-5 rounds of sun salutations at your own pace, coming back to a downward facing dog when you are finished. 

 

WIII 

On an inhale, lift your right leg toward the sky and on exhale step in through to the top of your mat. On an inhale, lift the arms overhead and come into a high lunge. Exhale bring your hands in prayer at heart center and begin to shift your weight into your right foot, slowly lifting your left leg off the mat. Bring the left leg to hip height and flex your left food toward the mat as you bring your upper body parallel to the floor. Gaze down at the mat with a neutral neck and hold for 10 breaths. 

 

Eagle 

On an inhale, slowly come up to stand on the right leg as you bring the left leg into the chest. Wrap your left leg around your right, crossing the ankle around the calf and sit low into a squat. Wrap your left arm underneath your right, coming into eagle. Find a steady gaze or drishti, and hold for ten breaths. Transition through a vinyasa and repeat on the other side. 

 

Waterfall 

Transition through a vinyasa and make your way onto the mat on your back. Place a block or blanket underneath your scarum if you have one, and extend your legs toward the ceiling. Keep a gentle bend in the knees and allow your body to heavy. Hold and breathe for up to a minute before slowly lowering the legs and removing the props. 

 

Savasana 

Bring your knees in toward the chest and wrap your arms around the legs. On an inhale, squeeze the legs and bring your forehead to the knees, starting to tense every muscle. Breathe in one more sip of air as you engage the entire body and on an exhale release your grip, coming to lie down on the mat. Extend your arms and legs out long, taking up as much space as you want. Let go of any breath control or attempt to control the mind and allow your body to melt into the mat, relaxing deeply. Stay here for up to 10 minutes, gently coming up when you are finished to resume your evening.

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