This simple and easy practice is perfect for those hectic days (or any day) when you are feeling depleted.
I love these simple, 5-pose practices. I keep these simple practices on notecards next to my mat.
The emphasis of this practice is to breathe with each movement. Usually, we inhale as we move up and exhale as we move down or ground. However, you always have the freedom to explore what feels right for you. This is your practice and only you can know what is right for you.
calm 5-pose practice
1. Child's Pose (Balasana)
To begin this practice, we will gently place ourselves into Child's Pose, or Balasana. Your knees are slightly wider than hips' distance with your buttocks resting on your heals (the tops of your feet are resting flat on the mat). You can stretch your arms in front of you on the mat or around you to your sides on the mat with your hands toward your feet. Stay here for at least 10 breaths. You can stay in this pose longer if you like. This is a nice pose to calm and quiet the mind.
If Child's pose is uncomfortable for you, then choose any restorative pose that is comfortable for you (e.g., Savasana, Viparita Karani).
2. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From Balasana, slowly rise up into table top (hands and knees on the mat). Stay in table top for a few breaths. Slowly inhale, then on your exhalation slowly bring your right foot up to the top of the mat. Now, you are in a low lunge. If it is comfortable, place both hands on the mat on either side of your right foot (front). Stay here for 2 breaths.
Then on your next inhalation, slowly bring your hands onto the top of your right knee and balance here. Focus on the gentle breath, gentle hugging of your muscles onto the bone, and the gentle balancing movement here. Stay here for 2 breaths.
Then on your next inhalation, slowly extend both arms up to the sky. Gently breathing, focus on rooting down through your legs and feet while extending to the sky with your chest, arms, and hands. Gently look toward the sky (without straining your neck). Breathe.
Then, exhale your left hand to the mat, as you gently twist to the right. The right arm and hand are still stretching toward the sky. With each inhalation balance and extend toward the sky. With each exhalation root down to the ground and twist. Stay here for a few breaths.
The, exhale both hands down to the mat and switch legs. Repeat the process for the left foot in front.
3. Bridge Pose (Setu Banda Sarvangasana)
Roll onto your back from low lunge. You are lying on your back, your knees are bent, and you have one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Focus on your gentle breath as it moves in and out of your body. Connect with your breath.
Then, place both hands on the mat by each side of you buttocks. Firmly press into feet and you gently raise your hips to the sky. Roll your shoulders out and under so that you have a firm base. Stay here for 1-2 slow, full breaths. Then, on an exhalation, slowly lower your hips to the ground. Your knees are still bent. Place on hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Connect with your breath, feel the sensations in your body.
Repeat 2-3 times.
4. Reclined Twist
You are lying on your back with your knees bent. Slowly bring your knees to your chest and hug. Stay here for a few breaths -- feel free to gently rock back-and-forth if that feels good to you. Then, inhale as you extend both arms out to your sides on the floor (you can use "cactus arms" if you prefer). Exhale as you gently lower your knees to the right. Rest here for 5 breaths.
Then, inhale as you gently raise your knees to the center, and exhale your knees to the left. Rest here for 5 breaths.
Inhale, gently raise your knees to the center, and exhale slowly release your feet to the mat.
5. Constructive Rest Pose
From the previous instruction, you should now be in constructive rest pose. You are lying on your back, your knees are bent, and your feet are firmly on the mat.
Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart.
Connect with your breath.
Connect with your body.
Feel the breath. Feel the sensations in your body.
From here, you are welcome to do a 'body scan' -- slowly, methodically bring awareness to each part of your body; many people like to imagine a certain color light pouring healing energy to each body part.
This calming 5-pose practice brings me peace and allows me to be gentle to myself during stressful times. This practice can be done any time of the day. I often practice this in the evening.