Yoga for the exhausted

And, I’m back…

I apologize for my long absence from blogging.  During the past 6 months I have lived in a haze of working long hours and rushing to get everything completed.

It’s been difficult transitioning into a new career. I’ve been in ‘survival mode’ and this has led me to its final endpoint: exhaustion and burnout.

Energy is much like money, you must spend some to get a return.  Yoga, exercise, meditation are all investments in energy and in your overall wellbeing.  It requires effort, but then you reap rewards.

I often face long hours and emotional exhaustion with my work and training as a physician. There are many times when the thought of getting up and going to a yoga class is just too much to handle. I need to sleep – but often I’m too exhausted to sleep well. I’m ramped up on adrenaline and often have difficulty winding down or have restless sleep.

I wrote this sequence for these times in my life.

If you’re exhausted for any reason, be it work, family obligations, poor sleep, life stress, etc…. this soft restorative practice could benefit you.

This soothing workout will provide some comfort and love to yourself, as well as stimulating your lymphatic system and providing an outlet for restless energy to help get a good night’s sleep.

Please consult your doctor before engaging in any new exercises especially if you have health problems or injuries. Listen to your body, if something is painful do not do the pose. These poses should never be painful. This blog is best for practitioners who have some familiarity with poses. A home practice is a great addition to your life, but it is always best to learn poses with a teacher to learn correct alignment and safety. 

Yoga For The Exhausted (all levels) 30minutes.

Photo on 12-21-14 at 4.30 PM
My cat, Bosco, really wanted to be part of my yoga workout today. I don’t mind this cute distraction!

Put on your favorite pajamas and get cozy.

  • StartinSvavasana (Corpse Pose)
    • Relax all of your body and let your legs fall open. Starting with your toes, scan up your body breathing relaxation into each part of your body. I.e. toes, shins, knees, thighs, glutes, pelvis, hips…etc) 
    • Wiggle your feet and hands, bringing yourself back into the room.
  • Knees to chest.
    • Slowly bring your knees to your chest. As you inhale squeeze your knees and as you exhale let them go.
  • Leg wind mills & circles
    • Take your arms to a T and with knees bent, wind mill your legs back and forth.
    • Hold your knees with your hand and make big circles with your legs. Change directions.
  • Happy Baby
    • Grabbing your toes with knees bent, bring your feet up in the air with your thighs at 90 degrees and parallel to the floor. Feel a stretch in your hips. 
    • Rock back and forth gently on your spine. 
  • Seated meditation
    • Where is the breath in your body? Is it in your throat, your chest, your belly? 
    • How long is your exhale and inhale? Which one is longer? 
    • Start Ujayi breath (with mouth closed, slight constriction of throat, with a small sound as if you’re fogging a window). 
    • Lengthen your inhale and exhale to match, pulling the breath deep into your belly and exhaling fully. 
    • Photo on 12-21-14 at 4.22 PM #3
  • Seated twists
    • Raise your arms over head on an inhale. Exhale twist to one side bringing your hands down. 
    • As you inhale lengthen your back. As you exhale twist a little deeper. 
    • The twist should be in your upper back. 
    • Photo on 12-21-14 at 4.24 PM #2
  • Cat & Cow
    • Come onto all fours into table top position.  
    • Knees are directly under your hips and your hands are directly under your shoulders.
    • Inhale and flex your back, looking in front of you. 
    • Exhale, arching your back and looking towards your belly
    • Following your breath, flow between these two poses. 
  • Downward dog, modified
    • Keep your knees bent and spine straight
    • Walk it out, straightening and bending opposite legs for 10 breaths.
    • Photo on 12-21-14 at 4.27 PM #3
  • Forward fold
    • Sit down on the floor with legs in front of you.
    • Inhale the arms overhead. Then exhale and fold forward, bending at the hip.
    • As you inhale lengthen your spine, as you exhale fold deeper.
  • Supported bridge
    • Lying on your back bend your knees with feet on the ground.
    • Using your thigh muscles and your abdominal core, lift your hips up.
    • Place a block under your sacrum.
    • Pull your shoulders back, in coming into a small backbend.
    • Remove the block and slowly lie down on the ground.
  • Child’s pose
    • From table top position pull your glutes towards your heels
    • Stretch your arms in front of you and rest your forehead on the ground
    • Be passive in this pose, letting gravity pull you to the ground
    • Photo on 12-21-14 at 4.32 PM #4

If you have the energy, try flowing backward through these poses coming back to Svavasana. Either way, end in a comfortable seated pose with hands at your heart.

Most important! Even if you only make it to Svavasana (or even just reading to the end of this article), take time to thank yourself. It is easy to justify not giving ourselves the care we need.



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