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April 27, 2015
April 27, 2015
With so much emphasis on the asana practice, I thought you might find it interesting to look at the sequencing in relation to the relaxation segment of the class. It is important to note that relaxation is sometimes practiced at the beginning of the class as well as the end.
How to Finish a Yoga Relaxation Sequence
Yoga sequences, whether relaxing or stimulating, can be as short or as long as desired, and the poses can be performed once or multiple times for various lengths of time. There are no specific rules dictating what must be in a yoga relaxation sequence, though the poses used should naturally be those that promote calmness and relaxation. Choosing the poses involved in any yoga sequence is an important and detailed process for instructors, but the poses should flow and work in tandem to promote physical and mental well-being. In the case of a relaxation sequence, the poses should promote relaxation and should end with meditative breathing.
It is important to avoid the use of too many stimulating poses in a relaxation sequence. Some poses have multiple effects, such as a pose that is relaxing in body stance with stimulating arm movements. These poses have a tendency to bring stimulating effects to the mind and body, however, despite the focus on relaxation in stance. Relaxation poses tend to be held for longer periods of time due to the stimulation associated with movement, and the poses are usually fairly simple to hold for even a beginner student. Deep breathing should be maintained during a relaxation sequence, and the student should focus on the positive aspects of simply being alive.
Bending poses, both sitting and standing, can have relaxing effects. When these poses are performed, the head should be propped up on something, whether it is a part of the student's body or a foam block or bar, to prevent the stimulating effects of blood entering the brain and head at a faster rate than it would in vertical poses. Poses that blend into one another can be beneficial for relaxation sequences, as there is less disruption of the poses during the shifting between them. The repetitive changing of motion can have stimulating effects if it is done too quickly, instead of the relaxing effects that we seek.
Ending a yoga relaxation sequence with meditation allows the student to reach a deeper level of relaxation. With a cleansed mind and relaxed body, this deeper state of relaxation serves to refresh the body. Because of this, yoga relaxation sequences are not limited to nighttime performance, though the deep state of relaxation achieved might suggest otherwise. The deep, focused breathing of meditation leads to increased organ and muscle functioning, improved circulation, and more oxygen in the blood and tissues.
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