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Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal

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Ten Minute Yoga

For

Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal

Lisa Shea

Content copyright © 2015 by

Lisa Shea / Minerva Webworks LLC

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

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Note: I am not a doctor. Please always consult with your medical doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. Always listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

This ebook should be free in all formats and on all systems. If you buy the paperback version, or get it from a system which is not currently free, all author’s proceeds are donated to battered women’s shelters.

Introduction

This is a SHORT book. It is a quick, easy ten minute session. The book is meant to conveniently carry with you on your smart phone, Kindle, ebook reader, or in the cloud so you always have access to it. That way, if you don’t have the time or energy for a full yoga routine, you can at least do something. Something is always better than nothing.

I also have a full length FREE yoga book available on all platforms for those who want more in depth information about yoga and my routine. This book is not it! If you got this book wanting a long routine please make sure you go and download my other book. Both are free. One is long and the other is short. I’m aiming to help people in all situations find a way to incorporate yoga into their daily lives.

Yoga alleviates lower back pain. Lifts depression. Helps with PTSD. Builds balance. Reduces blood pressure. The key is you have to do it. So if all you have is ten minutes, this book is for you. It’s short, sweet, to the point, and gets you on your way.

Namaste.

Note: I am not a doctor. Please always consult with your medical doctor before embarking on any exercise routine. Always listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.

Yoga should not hurt. Yoga is about gentle stretching and holding. If something hurts, you should stop. It could be you are pushing your body too hard for its current strengths. It could be something about the specific position simply does not work well given an injury or other situation with your body. There should never be pain. There should be gentle stretching.

This ebook should be free in all formats and on all systems. If you buy the paperback version, or get it from a system which is not currently free, all author’s proceeds are donated to battered women’s shelters.

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Setting the Stage

This book is designed to be short, quick, and easy. It’s my long book pared down to the bare essentials that one could do in ten minutes. The routine can be done pretty much anywhere in any clothing (within reason). If you have a mat, that’s great. If not, any non-slippy floor should do.

The Beginning

Even ten minutes is enough to help your mind calm, focus, and settle down. Use this time to renew yourself and gather energy.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath, and set an intention for this session. It can be releasing stress, forgiving yourself, forgiving someone else, or whatever you wish. It can simply be joy.

Then we begin.

Arms Like Coat Sleeves

Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Imagine that your arms are empty coat sleeves hanging at your side.

Turn your torso as if you are turning to look behind you to the left. Let your arms gently swing with your motion, counter-clockwise.

Now turn your torso as if you are now turning to look behind you to the right. Again, let your arms gently swing, now in a clockwise direction.

Turn again left. Then right.

Repeat this, slowly, gently, letting your arms flap with the motion. This is a gentle spinal twist, helping to loosen up those all-important cartilage pillows in your spine.

Do this twenty times.

If you aren’t comfortable standing or are unable to stand, you can do this sitting on a stool. With every single pose here, you can always modify it. Think of ways to alter it so it works in your situation, and make that version your own.

Standing Crescent Moon

Standing Crescent Moon, or chandrasana, is a great way to start bending. Where the previous exercise helped gently twist the spine around its vertical access, this one bends the spine in a side-to-side orientation.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your arms hanging at your side. Raise your arms in a circle up to meet above your head – your left hand going out to the left, your right hand going out to the right. Twine your hands above your head, reaching for the sky.

Gently bend to the left, making a gentle crescent-shaped curve with your body from your toes to the top of your fingers. Your hips sway right and then the chest up to fingers sway left again.

Hold for ten seconds.

Stand up straight again, and now bend to the right, again making a curve.

Hold for ten seconds.

Back and Forward Bend

We’ve twisted our spine vertically. We’ve curved it left and right. Now it’s time to curve it forward and back.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your palms together and reach your hands toward the sky.

Bend back, as if you were going to do a backbend. It’s all right if you can only bend back a little bit. The key here is gentle progress. Do what you can.

Hold for ten seconds.

Now stand up straight. Let your hands swing forward in front of you and separate. Have each hand continue its circle down, behind you, and up, coming back around and forward as you bend forward at the waist.

This is uttanasana – standing forward bend. Let your hands dangle down before you. Avoid locking the knees – allow them to be loose.

Whether your fingers don’t touch the ground, they do, or you can put your palms on the ground, that’s all right. Do what you can.

Hold for ten seconds.

I love the forward bend because this is an easy way to see my progress each day. Each day I can bend a little further.

Tree Pose

Tree pose, or vrikshasana, is a wonderful pose that is shown all the time in commercials and movies. It is fantastic for building balance which is important for all of us. Especially as we age, the more we can balance, the better our long term health will be.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Settle into the weight being on one foot. Now bring up the second foot. When you first start doing this, you should probably start with putting the lifted foot against the standing leg’s lower calf, just above your ankle.

As you get better at tree pose, and build up your leg muscles, you can work toward putting your lifted foot on the standing leg’s thigh above your knee.

Never put your foot on your ankle joint or knee joint. Always aim for muscular parts of your standing leg, rather than joints.

Bring your hands to your chest, touching the palms together.

Hold for thirty seconds.

You’ll find when you first start doing tree pose that your sole aim is to not wobble. You’re learning about balance. Take deep breaths. Let your mind clear. The more your mind clears, the more settled your pose will be.

As you get better at tree pose, and have the balance part fairly set, think about lifting up in the pose. Imagine you have a string at the crown of your head, like a puppet, and you are being lifted up.

Breathe.

At this point in my years of practice I’m fairly good at tree pose – and even so, if I’m upset about something, I’ll be wobbly. One’s physical balance is truly impacted by one’s emotional turmoil. The better you can settle your emotions and mind, the better health your entire body enjoys.

When the time has passed, put your lifted foot down. Just think about your legs for a minute. Do they feel different from each other? Is one stronger? Is the other one more wobbly?

Then repeat on the opposite leg.

[]Inverted Pose

Inversions, or being upside-down, are just SO so good for your spine. That’s why there are so many inversion tables out there. However, many of the yoga inversion poses like headstands are of course a bit tricky. This is a simpler version for you to try that is fantastic for helping your spine.

Stand with your feet about two-and-a-half feet apart, at the same width we’ve been doing for previous poses.

Stand up tall. Stretch your spine up, for about ten seconds.

Then gently fold at the waist. Let your body hang toward the floor. Let your arms dangle. Let your head dangle. Fold your arms at the elbow and hold them together, to deepen the bend.

Breathe!

In this photo she has her feet a bit wider than I would, but it gives the general idea.

Nod your head yes five times.

Shake your head no five times.

Stand and check in with your body.

You are now done with the standing portion of the routine! It’s time to move to a seated position.

Tucked Squat

From a standing position, squat down so that your knees are bent and your rear end is a few inches from the floor. You can wrap your hands around your knees if that helps.

Relax.

Give thought to the lower part of your spine. You might feel as if it is lengthening and stretching here. We tend not to think about this area of our body, and it’s a fairly important one. Often called the “tail bone,” this area is made up of the sacrum and coccyx.

Hold the tucked squat for thirty seconds, giving attentive thought to this lower region of your spine. How is it feeling? Do you get a gentle stretching sensation?

Cross-Legged

Lower yourself to the floor and sit cross-legged. If you can’t quite cross your legs, that’s fine. Just sit however you can.

Reach your hands high into the sky over your head. Studies show that the arms-above-the-head pose is a “power pose.” It can raise your mood and build confidence!

Hold for thirty seconds. Breathe in. Think of a strength you have. Focus on that strength.

Half Lord of the Fishes

I love this pose. Love love love this pose. It feels so nice to gently twist my spine like this. Again, if it doesn’t feel good for you right now, that’s fine! You have something to look forward to. For me, this has the same level of pleasure as having a good masseuse find that sweet spot in your aching back muscle and pressing into it. And it’s free.

Half Lord of the Fishes is known as ardha matsyendrasana.

Start by sitting with both legs straight in front of you. Give your right leg a slight bend to the left. You can also leave that right leg straight, if that’s easier for you. Bring the left foot toward you and cross it over your right knee.

Bend your right arm at the elbow and point your right hand toward the sky. Put your right elbow against the outside of your left knee.

Now sweep your left arm forward, left, and back, to put it behind you. Follow this arm with your gaze, looking behind you.

Sit up tall, stretching the crown of your head toward the sky.

I know this looks a little complicated but it makes sense when you give it a try. Your spine just feels SO nice being stretched like this.

Hold for thirty seconds.

Repeat on the other side. Since this pose is a bit tricky, I’ll list the steps again, with a fresh photo in the opposite configuration.

So start by tucking your left leg to the right if you wish, or you can leave it straight. Bring your right leg over to rest your right foot near your left knee. Raise your left fingers toward the sky, bend the left arm at the elbow, and place the left elbow outside the right knee.

Sweep the right arm forward, right, and back, so it is behind you on the mat. Follow this arm with your gaze, looking behind you.

Raise up. Breathe.

Cat and Cow

Another classic pairing of poses. Cat pose is marjariasana while cow pose is bitilasana.

Get on your hands and knees. Let your belly sag down, as if you were a cow with heavy udders full of healthy milk for your calf. Raise your rear in the air. Look forward.

Breathe.

Now arch your back as if you were a stretching cat. Let your head fall down. Breathe.

Repeat this cycle ten times.

Extended Child Pose

Extended child pose or utthita is a pose of rest. You can definitely use a rest right now!

Let your rear settle back onto your heels. Stretch your hands, palm-down, in front of you. Settle fully down so your chest is close to the floor.

Press your cheek or forehead against the floor, whichever is most comfortable for you.

Hold for thirty seconds.

This is the first time that you have a real pause in the routine. At this point you’re fairly deep into it and hopefully your mind has stilled a bit. But this is often a spot where monkey-mind begins its activity and starts hopping around.

Breathe. Let the thoughts go. Avoid giving attention to them. Be aware of them, and release them. Don’t try to drive them away – that rarely works. Simply acknowledge them and go back to your breath. In. Out.

Rolling Cat – Cow

From extended child pose, shift your weight forward so you are on your forearms. Then up to all fours in cow pose, with your belly sagging. Without stopping, arch up into cat pose. Again, without stopping, ease your rear back onto your heels and stretch in extended child pose.

Roll up to your forearms. Lift up into cow. Arch up into cat. Settle back onto your heels and stretch.

Continue this sequence for ten rounds. This is a moving sequence where you transition from pose to pose without holding. It’s a spinal lubrication. Think of your spine curving down, then curving up, then stretching.

End by resting in extended child pose for another thirty seconds.

You are now done with the seated portion of the routine and are closing in on the end! Now you will be doing laying-down poses.

Reclining Spinal Twist

The reclining spinal twist is another pose that I absolutely adore. Some call it reclined Lord of the Fishes (supta matsyendrasana) as it is fairly close to that pose. Which I also love :).

Lay flat on your back. Bring your right foot up to sit alongside your left knee. Then fold your right knee to the left, so it points to the left.

Put your arms straight out to either side – the right arm going right, the left arm going left. Put your left hand on your right knee.

Now look to the right, along your arm. Press both shoulders down into the ground.

Breathe.

This feels so good!

Now reverse it, so your left knee is bent and you are looking out along your outstretched left arm.

Breathe.

In this combination photo set of me, called a “multiplicity” photo, the laying spinal twist is the one in the bottom right corner. It shows the second orientation, with my left knee bent and to the right, and my left arm outstretched to the left.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose or setu bandha sarvangasana is our last main pose we’ll be doing. It’s also one of my favorites.

Lay flat on your back. Fold your knees so the knees are pointing at the ceiling and your feet are near your rear. Lift up your hips so you have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

Bring your hands together beneath your back and intertwine your fingers. Your hands should be about beneath your rear end.

Wriggle your shoulder blades so they’re more beneath you to support you. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your shoulder blades and your feet. There should not be weight or pressure on your neck.

Your knees should not splay out to the side, nor should they touch. There should be about a half-foot of space between them. Imagine you are holding a soft foam block in between them.

Hold position.

In this image, she doesn’t have her hands clasped beneath her yet.

Breathe.

After thirty seconds, release your hands and move them back to your side. Then slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae, lower yourself down. This just feels so amazingly good! Take your time.

One at a time, stretch out your legs. Then lay your arms on either side of you.

Relax.

Breathe.

It is now time for savasana.

Serenity

We are now at the final stage of the yoga session.

Time to relax and breathe in serenity!

Savasana

Normally I call poses by their English names, rather than their Sanskrit names, but in this case with the name being “corpse pose” I would rather call it savasana :). That sounds more soothing and relaxing to me.

Simply lay there. Relaxed. Your feet out. Your arms at your side. Your eyes closed.

This portion of the routine should be calm, relaxing, and quiet.

If thoughts flit into your mind, let them go. Avoid giving them attention. Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Release.

Forgive.

Give yourself a minute of bliss.

This savasana provides a much-needed rest after a good stretching routine. It also offers a gentle introduction into meditation.

Lotus Position

Blink yourself aware from savasana. Roll over to your side, then up to sitting cross legged. You can do full lotus position, or padmasana, if you wish, where the feet are up on top of the thighs. Do whatever feels right for you.

Raise yourself up by the crown of your head, sitting tall.

Imagine there is a golden halo hovering over your head. Gently trace it with the crown of your head clockwise five times.

Then trace it counter-clockwise five times.

Now imagine there is a beautiful orange floating in front of your nose. Trace with your nose clockwise five times, starting at its north pole, then circling down to its south pole and back up.

Then trace it counter-clockwise five times.

Breathe.

Namaste

Draw yourself to a standing position.

Bring your hands together at your chest.

Think of all the blessings you have. All the things in life to be grateful for. All those you love.

Then say “Namaste.” This means in essence “I reverentially acknowledge you.” It is a statement of appreciation.

Namaste.

Summary

We all have so much to be grateful for. We can read and write. Most of us have somewhere warm to sleep at night and food to eat during the day. There are so many people out there who do not have what we have. They could only dream of having the blessings we sometimes take for granted.

Yoga helps us reach this awareness. It helps us reduce stress by realizing just how much we already have. It helps us forgive by helping us see our place in this larger universe we inhabit.

Day by day, yoga helps our health increase, our stress levels decrease, and our ability to help others grow.

Even if all you have is ten minutes, carve out that time. It’s well worth it.

Take it one day at a time, and feel free to contact me with questions!

Namaste.

Thank you for reading this Ten Minute Yoga book! I hope you found some new tools which can help you in your stress relief efforts.

If you enjoyed this book, please leave feedback!

You can also post Goodreads and any other systems you use. Together we can help make a difference! The book should be free in nearly all locations. For those where I could not set it to free for some reason, all proceeds of this book benefit battered women’s shelters.

If you have a tip I didn’t cover, please let me know! Together we can help each other conquer stress.

Other FREE books in my library include:

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Dedication

To Christine, my yoga instructor for many years, whose gentle serenity and warm nature has always impressed me.

To Kripalu, with their amazing staff and supportive environment.

To Elizabeth, Helen, Yvonne, Pamela, Samuel, and Marion who offered specific tips on how to improve this.

To the Boston Writer’s Group, who supports me in all my projects.

To my boyfriend, who encourages me in all of my dreams.

Most of all, to my loyal fans on GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other systems who encourage me. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm!

About the Author

Lisa Shea began her career as a programmer for a number of high-challenge biotech and software companies. After years in the high-pressure industry she decided she wanted to use her skills to help others. She wanted to create a learning environment where those who often have few outlets – stay-at-home moms, those caring for elderly parents, or parents of children with special needs – could reach their dreams and goals.

Through her website BellaOnline.com Lisa strives every day to help every editor and visitor achieve whatever they set out to do.

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Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal

SHORT VERSION - TEN MINUTE ROUTINE In our rushed, hectic, go-go-go modern world, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. But this one body is all each of us has to make it through an entire lifetime. What we do to our bodies - the stress we subject them to, the damage we do to the muscles and ligaments - stays with us every waking moment. We owe it to ourselves to nurture this delicate vehicle which moves us through our world. Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal is the short version of my full hour-long routine. It can be used when you travel, when you're busy, and pretty much any other time that you need to keep your time quick. Both this and my full-length yoga book are FREE on all systems. Study after study finds that yoga helps with lower back pain, depression, energy levels, balance, post-traumatic stress, focus, sleep, and much more. Whether you need to reset after a busy day or wish to have more joy in your daily life, yoga can help. It nurtures your body and embraces your soul. Join us to take that first step forward into a healthier, happier you. Namaste. Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal is intended to be free on all systems, to help those who are in need of support find a step toward a more contented life. If the system you are currently on requires a charge to download, all author's proceeds will benefit battered women's shelters. It is the short version of my longer yoga book, which is also free. Together they ensure you are able to do yoga every day no matter what life throws at you. If you have never done yoga at all, I highly recommend you start with a live human being helping you in person. That person can ensure you hold the poses in a healthy, safe way. If you don't have access to a human, at least use a video of some sort to see the poses in motion. It's like learning the harp or learning to swim - you need to see how the whole body moves. My book then helps you understand my personal sequence of poses, to create an atmosphere of stress relief and forgiveness. Feel free to contact Lisa if you have any questions about her routine - she's happy to help!

  • ISBN: 9781311108913
  • Author: Lisa Shea
  • Published: 2015-09-23 09:50:16
  • Words: 3786
Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal Ten Minute Yoga for Stress Relief, Focus, and Renewal