Getting on the mat when you just don’t feel like it

We all have days when we know we should be on the mat, but just can’t seem to get going.  Next time you feel this way, try this two-pose, ten minute asana practice that will relax, de-stress, get your blood flowing, and work your mind and body together.

Start in a relaxed child’s pose – balasana – with your arms by your side, hands by your feet, palms up.  Stay there.  And stay there.  Stay as long as you need to, we’re only doing two poses.  And breathe, deep, long breaths.  Feel the stress flow out of you with every exhale.  Feel your back lengthen and relax, your hips fall toward your heels.  As you’re in this pose, remember there’s no pressure to do a full practice.  Five minutes is plenty, but a full five minutes. Let the pose do the work as your mind relaxes.

There, you’re halfway done.

Next, stretch your arms out toward the front of your mat and make the pose more active, charge up your hands, forearms, upper arms, and feel the blood start to flow.  When you’re ready, press back into down dog – adho mukha svanasana – for the last half of the practice.  Pedal your legs. Bend your legs to involve your front-thighs.  Straighten your legs.  Keep your hands firmly planted but lightly twist your arms in opposite directions (as if you were turning two big, stuck knobs) – right hand counterclockwise, left hand clockwise.  Switch the twist.  Switch it back to set your upper arms.  Tighten your abs. Keep doing these movements to involve as many muscles as you can.

Hold this pose as long as possible to get your heart pumping and blood flowing, and to work on your endurance.  If you need to, come to your knees for a second or two, then lift back up.  When you think you’re done, your heart is pumping and you have a glow on, you’re done.

There.  You just did yoga.  Your mind should be relaxed, and you’ve energized all the major muscle groups.  And who knows what else might happen once you’re on the mat …

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