According to ancient texts, Yoga is to be practiced in a compassionate manner with patience, non-judgement, and self-love. The following techniques can be used as the foundation for the 5-Minute Yoga Break or any Yoga program.
Centering and Breath Work
Before you begin any poses, sit upright in a chair, close your eyes or soften your gaze, and take your awareness inward as you observe your breathing. Invite your belly to grow with each inhalation and totally relax with each exhalation. Do this until your breath is relaxed and even. Once your breath is stable, choose the stretches you'd like to do according to the time available and the level you wish to explore.
Remember never to push yourself and to observe the effects of each stretch as you go along. Find a way to relax in each stretch, balancing outer effort with inner ease. You will know that you're relaxed and centered when you are able to breathe fully and the stretch doesn't cause your breath to shorten. Notice your bodily sensations in each stretch. Notice the thoughts that come up during your practice. Without judging or evaluating your practice, fully accept yourself and your experience. With continued regular practice, Yoga can open the doors to living your life fully present and alive.
The purpose of core stabilization is to protect the lower spine and pelvis in both movement and static holding positions, and to stabilize the sacrum and base of the spine. It gives the practitioner a sense of groundedness and maximizes the strength of the lower spine and pelvis. One gets the sense of moving from the inside out. Just as the roots of a tree anchor the tree in the earth and enable the tree to sway in the wind, so also the sacrum anchors the spine in the pelvis.
The process involved in creating core stabilization (or "engaging core") may vary among individuals, however, a basic system of doing this involves lengthening the tailbone down. This aligns the pelvis and counteracts any excess curve in the lower back. Then the navel is drawn back toward the spine, as the pelvic floor is lifted and the abdominal muscles are engaged. Experiment with accessing core stabilization, or "engaging your core" throughout each pose during your Yoga practice.