Yoga Lab: How to chill out and slow down
In the third part of our series with instructor Elena Romero, we take it down a notch and focus on breathing
We are now well into the third week of our new reality, working from home, and perhaps getting very little physical activity due to restrictions on our time outdoors. Many of us cannot leave the house at all and, even though we know it’s for the greater good, our patience may be wearing a little thin with the whole thing.
Yoga is a great way to bring more peace to both our bodies and minds and it’s also a nice way to pass a half hour in what might now seem like endless days. In this, the third instalment from Yoga Lab, Elena Romero from Practice Yoga who teaches from both the Anu Centre in Herbert Place and the Rehab Rooms in Deansgrange, brings us through a sequence done from a supine position - that’s lying completely on the floor.
Yoga combines physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation or relaxation that can help us at this difficult time
It’s slightly slower than Elena’s previous tutorials – the first of which was about being present, and the second focused on stress release – and aims to soothe the sympathetic nervous system and find space between breaths.
“Yoga combines physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation or relaxation that can help us at this difficult time when we are all super busy, and unprecedentedly we are juggling most facets of our lives from our bedrooms,” Elena says.
Due to the fact that many of us are working from our beds or the kitchen table, we may find we are more stiff and will benefit from practicing poses that allow us to stretch, especially the spine, hips and shoulders.
This video also aims to encourage the practitioner to slow down.
“Slow down the breath, slow down the movement and to stay absolutely present, follow every bit of the movement, while watching the breath from beginning to end. I want people to think of this practice nearly as if they were doing it in slow-motion.
“The practice wants to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing the breathing rate and bringing a sense of calmness to the whole body. I believe it will suit most people, but there is always room for modifications. For example, in the wind release pose, one can do the practice while keeping both knees bent if minding the lower back. This practice is less about the physical body and more about moving mindfully, with awareness and absolute presence, hence it might yet be the hardest practice for many,” she says.
Breathing is considered to be the most important part of any yoga practice and never has controlled, calm breath been needed more.
By slowing down the breath we might alleviate stress, anxiety and bring an overall sense of calmness to the body and mind
“It is controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS controls other processes in the body such as blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, digestion, defecation, balance of water, and the production of saliva, sweat and tears,” Elena says.
“Breathing is continuous, automatic and involuntary – you are always breathing, even while asleep. This we call involuntary breathing, it just happens! But breathing can also be voluntary, for example when we hold the breath in while diving, or controlled breathing for singing or playing an instrument. Or when we do yoga. By slowing down the breath we might alleviate stress, anxiety and bring an overall sense of calmness to the body and mind.
“Yoga is generally considered safe for most healthy people, but like when doing any physical activity, people need to be mindful and listen to their body. We all have different abilities,” she says.
As with all exercise programs, when using our Yoga Lab videos, you need to use common sense. To reduce/avoid injury, please check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk.
Practice Yoga now has online classes:
- Early morning; Wake up Yoga: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8am - 8.45am
- Mid-morning; Gentle Yoga: Thursday from 10am - 11am
- Evening; Strength, Flexibility & Balance: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6pm - 7pm
- Weekend; Yoga with a Smile: Saturday from 9.30am - 10.30am
Unlimited offer of €50 monthly
The first two introductory classes are €15
For more information email Practice Yoga, or call 086 1598010