A Yoga Sequence to Cultivate Faith in Recovery & Life

In recovery and in life, we are constantly presented with challenges and uncertainties that ask us to call upon our deepest sense of faith. As a nutrition therapist, yoga instructor, and a recovered person who guides individuals on their healing journey, I often witness how the nature of the mind, when confronted with fear, is to try to “figure out” what is going to happen. For instance, challenging disordered eating habits often provokes fear about how our bodies or weight may change as a result of new behaviors: “what if my body never stops gaining weight?”. However, the invitation when we engage  in a healing process is to allow our hearts to lead the way since there are questions that the mind simply is incapable of “figuring out”. I like to think of these moments when we feel shaky as opportunities to turn our attention towards something higher or bigger than ourselves. The practice below is designed to open the heart and start to draw upon the muscle of faith.

1. Soft knee down dog

As you come into your down dog, explore keeping the knees soft and press your heart towards the legs in order to find more opening across your shoulder blades and heart. Plug the outer arms down your back and release the crown of your head as you allow your head to bow below your heart.

Anastasia Nevin-Downdog

2. Full Pranam

Lie flat on your belly and stretch your arms out in front of you with the palms facing upwards. Allow this pose to be a full embodiment of surrender and offering.

Anastasia Nevin-Full-Pranam

3. Child’s Pose

Pass through this posture of safety and grounding for a few breaths before returning to down dog. Feel your hips melt to your heels and the sides of the waist lengthen. Breathe into the back of your heart.

Anastasia Nevin-Childspose

3. Warrior 1 into Devotional warrior

From downward dog, step your right foot forward between the thumbs and spin the back heel down, rising up to stand in your own strength. Lean back into your shoulder blades. Interlace your fingers behind your back and as you bow the crown of the head down inside of the front leg, consider what you can offer in this moment, or what you would like to devote yourself to. Press into your feet and feel the navel kiss the spine. Move through this same sequence on your own on the left side.

Anastasia Nevin-Warrior 1
Anastasia Nevin-Devotional-warrior

4. Crescent Moon

Step on foot forward and bring your back knee to the ground. You can bring a blanket under the back knee for some more support. Walk your hands onto your front thigh and then reach your arms to the sky. Feel for what you are yearning for. Lift your gaze upwards and lean into the back of the heart as you bend your front knee deeply.

Anastasia Nevin-Crescent-Moon

5. Wide Lunge with a Twist

Release your hands inside your front foot and walk your front foot over to the side of your mat to give your hips some room. Bend your back knee and reach your arm around to catch the back foot. You can keep the other arm straight or bring your forearm to the ground. Kick the back foot back into your hand and lean your head back as you allow yourself to lean into the mystery as your journey unfolds. Move through the other side on your own.

Anastasia Nevin-Wild-Lunge-Twist

6. Headstand

Interlace your fingers and bring the crown of your head down to the earth with the chin tucking in towards the heart. Tuck your toes like down dog and walk your feet in towards your body until your hips are over your shoulders. Lift one left up and maybe the other. Trust that you are supported. Let your perspective shift.

Anastasia Nevin-Headstand

6. Tarasana

Swing both legs around in front you and come to sit with your knees bent and the soles of the feet touching. Move your feet farther away from you like a diamond shape. Let your back round as you bow forward, letting your head rest on your feet, blanket, or block. Start to let your gaze move inward and bring your mind back to your breathing. Come back to your intention and let this bow be a way to honor your practice.

Anastasia Nevin-Tarasana

Pictures yoga poses: © 2015 Anastasia Nevin

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