Tactical Breath Work
3-Part BreathThis is our basic yoga breath. Perfect to practice at the end of your day to calm the nervous system, after a stressful incident to get back in control and focused, or to start your day with mastery over your psychophysiological system by means of tactical breath work.
Darth Vader Breath (Ujjayi Breath)Ujjayi means “Victorious Breath”
This technique calms the nervous system, focuses the mind and heats the body from the inside. Great to use to calm your nerves before an upcoming stressful situation, or to bring the nervous system back to neutral after an incident.
Can be easily practiced for 3 minutes at your desk or in your car.
Alternate Nostril BreathingYou can sit up on a book if you don’t have a block so that the spine is in proper alignment. Alternate Nostril Breathing is great for balancing the left and right sides of the brain so the mind is neutral and you can access the entire brain and its functions. Usually, one side of the brain is always dominant.
Alternate Nostril Breathing calms an agitated mind, increases oxygen to the brain for better functioning and performance. In addition, it will help clear stale air and impurities out of the lungs.
Great to do before sleep, before an exam or interview, or as the “buffer zone” between on-duty and off-duty
Scoop BreathScoop Breath will bring more oxygen to the brain and blood stream. It is a great way to enhance mental clarity. Make sure to open the chest at the top and exhale all the breath with “sh” out the mouth at the bottom. It only needs to be done 5 times to be effective.
Basic Sun SalutationA sun salutation is a series of postures that addresses every area of the body for mobility and stability. Other postures we practice in yoga all stem from this basic series. Practicing these movements alongside mindful breath work can give you the mind-body connection you need in less than 5 minutes. Perfect to start your day or as a midday refresher.
Sun Salutations with LungesGreat to tack on after the Basic Sun Salutation video. Adding variations to Sun Salutations including a high lunge, chair pose with and without a block, Crow Pose preparation and Revolved Right Angle. As this moves along a little faster, don’t forget to continue the mindful breath work.
Plank Challenges, Crow Prep, Chair at the WallGreat for a quick challenge after warming up with Sun Salutations. Keep the breath smooth, the jaw relaxed and alertness in your entire body, from finger tips to toes. Add the affirmation, “I am calm and in control” whenever you feel you are about to lose control of the breath. This will help to get your mind on board so you step up to the challenge.
One-legged Mountain Pose and WarriorMake sure both legs are active in one-legged Mountain Pose. The arms are active and lifting toward the ceiling and the chest is high. Warrior 3 resembles a capital letter “T”, both legs are straight and the chest is slightly lifted. Important to not freak out because you are balancing on one leg. Stay with the breath and focus on the bottom of your supporting foot. Eliminate extraneous movement by slowing and focusing the breath.
Warrior 2 and 2-point aside PlankBoth poses are great to add affirmations. Rely on these affirmations and breath work and focus to get your head in the game and get through the challenges of the poses with self-awareness, mindfulness and control. Try “I am calm and in control” or “I am steady and stable”.
L-pose and Camel PoseL-Pose is a preparation for Handstand. Camel pose is a great backbend to focus on the thoracic spine (upper back).
Warrior One with Chair Pose and CrowAll these postures are great for establishing strength while remaining calm in the nervous system. Make sure in each pose to go through the THREE CHECKLIST ITEMS for every posture: 1) Foundation 2) Spine alignment 3) Breath control
Extended Side Angle and Triangle PoseThree important things as you start to build on postures: 1) FOUNDATION, legs stay activated. 2) SPINE, stay aware of spine alignment. It should be the same as if you were still in mountain pose. Be careful in these poses to not arch and sit in the low back. 3) BREATH, find 3-part breath and slow the momentum, focus the eyes with intention.
HandstandWhat’s more important that the handstand itself is getting to a level that challenges you and find your breath control. Remember, we are not in gymnastics class, we are in yoga class for the purpose of mastery over the mind and optimal functioning of the nervous system. That is what the drill is. The outcome will be a body that can do anything you ask of it and a mind that is resilient.
Body Circles and WoodchopperBody circles are a great and QUICK way to open up the body allowing more room for deep breath and mobility. Follow this up with Woodchopper. Woodchopper allows you to SAFELY release anger and frustration. If your low back is sensitive or you have high blood pressure, just use the arms with “HA!” release instead of the body. Make sure to begin Woodchopper with “I safely release anger” and end it with “I am calm and in control” along with 3-part breathing.
Nervous System Reset (Deep Relaxation)
Tension/ReleaseTension/Release is an exercise to reset the nervous system back to neutral, or homeostasis. Lying down is ideal, but seated is also effective. We will be exaggerating tension in certain areas of the body, followed by a complete release of every drop of tension in that area until the whole body is at rest.
This will help recharge you in body and mind before sleep, or to reset your system in the middle of the day.