Yoga for Mental Health with Koya Webb

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Wellness visionary & inspirational speaker, author of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce, & Founder of The Get Loved Up Community. My core mission is to promote daily self-care, oneness & eco-friendly living.

Hi, I'm Koya

Hi, love. Thank you so much for stopping by. Before we start today’s yoga routine, I want to ask you a couple of questions…

Do you feel overwhelmed? Are you finding yourself engaging in nervous habits, such as biting your nails or constantly checking your phone? Do you never feel truly relaxed during the day? Is the stress of work getting to you? 

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then today’s yoga routine is perfect for you. Let’s face it — we all get anxious from time to time. Things happen in our lives that we don’t expect, and they can throw us for a loop. But when we take the time to center our breathing, relax our bodies, and practice mediation, we release anxiety and open up space for healing and growth. 

In my yoga classes, I love to include three main elements: breathwork, yoga, and meditation. Often, I include a lot more than that, but today, I want to help you create a simple daily yoga practice you can do to reduce stress. 

Numerous studies have shown that breathwork, yoga, and meditation can all reduce stress, lower blood pressure, decrease your heart rate, and also lower your stress response, which means over time, you begin to develop a healthier stress response. These are things that we can all benefit from, and so I hope that you’ll use this routine as a regular part of your daily ritual. 

Breathwork Is Key

Let’s start with breathwork. 

Get in a comfortable, seated position — or really any position that’s comfortable for you. If it’s hard to sit on the floor, you can put some books underneath your hips to help relieve the pressure on your knees. Make sure you’re in an environment that isn’t too busy so that you can focus solely on your breath. 

Let’s start with a four-part breath. We’re going to inhale and hold the breath, and then we’ll exhale and hold the breath. 

Inhale through your nose and hold the breath. Now exhale through the nose and hold the breath for five seconds. This is really going to help slow your heart rate. Breathwork oxygenates the blood and gives you so much more energy. So inhale and hold for five counts, then exhale and hold for five counts.

Whenever you’re feeling stressed, panicked, or anxious, breathwork is a great way to reset your system and relax. This breathwork routine will lower both your heart rate and blood pressure, and I promise — you’ll feel so much better afterward. Try to do this breathwork routine at least five times so that you can really get into it. Even better — do it ten times if you can. You’ll notice a big difference. 

Child’s Pose: Benefits and Variations 

Now, let’s start the yoga section of this routine. Child’s Pose is my favorite go-to pose when I’m feeling stressed, having a headache, or suffering from PMS symptoms. The first thing you want to do is go to your knees. If this is hard for you, you can grab a towel or a bolster and put that wherever you need support. If you feel a sharp pain when you do this, you should stop to make sure you don’t do any further damage. If you feel a little bit stretched, that’s totally okay — you’re supposed to feel like that. 

Once you’re on your knees and comfortable, make your way forward onto your elbows, resting against the floor. It’s really important that you try to get your head down as well, but if your head can’t come down, just let it hang there. Now do that same four-part breathing routine we just talked about…

Inhale through your nose. Hold your breath for five seconds. 

Now exhale through your nose. Hold your breath for five seconds. 

If you come to a point where you can release your bolster, do it. As you get comfortable with these poses, practice doing them without support so that your body can become stronger and more flexible. And if you do them regularly, you’ll be able to feel yourself grow each day. 

With each breath, see if you can take your upper body closer and closer to the ground. To help, make sure your knees are a bit wider apart than your hips. Now, just breathe in and out through your nose, keeping your lips sealed. Take long, deep breaths — with each breath, you’re releasing tension, anxiety, and stress. 

I like to spend about five to ten breaths in that Child’s Pose. If you want to change it up a little bit, bring your palms together and put them at the back of your neck. You’ll feel the stretch throughout your biceps. Once you’ve done that, just breathe for three to five breaths, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Once you’re down, slowly make your way up. 

Another variation of Child’s Pose is called “Thread the Needle.” With your knees on the ground and upper body facing the floor, take your right arm underneath your left and just thread that needle. Now take a deep inhale. Even if your head can’t come all the way down, just close your eyes and breathe for a few seconds. Once you’re done, switch sides and thread the needle on the opposite side. 

And here’s one last variation of Child’s Pose: Bring the knees together and wrap your arms around them. Bring your forehead to the ground, and inhale deeply and then exhale. Let your body completely relax. If you’re holding onto any fear and anxiety, focus on releasing them with each breath. 

Meditation: Visualize Your Happy Place 

By now, you’re probably feeling pretty relaxed, but we can go further. The third element of this routine is meditation. Make sure you’re in a comfortable area, and then lie on your back. If you’re on a mat, bring your heels to the corners of your mat. If you don’t have a mat, you can lay on a towel or soft carpet. 

Place your palms face up and expand your chest. Bring your shoulders to your ears, and shift your head from left to right. Make sure that you’re completely relaxed and that nothing is uncomfortable — do whatever you need to do to make that happen.

Squeeze your glutes and breathe easily — don’t think about it too much. Just listen to your breath, and if your mind starts to wander, always bring it back to breathing. This was really hard for me at first — my mind was restless and liked to jump around — but it really helped me to visualize my happy place. 

My happy place is the beach. I imagine the waves crashing gently on the shore, and it calms me. What’s your happy place? It could be anywhere — the mountains, the spa, a meadow — anything that relaxes you. Allow yourself to go to that place and keep your eyes closed. Another thing I like to do is roll my eyes in circles (while keeping them closed) and massage my eyes on the back of the eyelids. 

Now, take a deep breath in and exhale through your mouth. Do this a couple of times until you get in a state of extreme relaxation. Now start moving your fingers and toes gently from side to side, and bring your knees in toward your chest. Wrap your arms around yourself and gently rock from side to side.

As I hold my knees to my chest, I imagine myself back in the womb. Let this time transform you into a happier version of yourself and release any thoughts or frustrations that are holding you back. 

Whenever you’re ready, slowly push yourself in an upright position, and just sit there for a minute. Close your eyes and just rest in the stillness, feeling whatever there is to feel. Listen to your breath, and continue into a seated meditation as all your worries fade away. 

Let Go of Your Fears and Embrace a Happier Life 

Love, I hope that you find this guided routine helpful. Taking the time to breathe, rest in Child’s Pose, and meditate helps me release anxiety and center myself in a better, happier version of me. 

This routine is the essence of the shortest classes I teach, but it is so, so effective. You can connect to your inner spirit by focusing on your breath and letting your body relax. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, always remember that you can go to your mat and do this practice. I teach this routine not only to my students but to other teachers as well. We’re spreading the gift of yoga worldwide, and we’re finding that it has the power to improve mental health. 

If you prefer a more visual explanation of this routine, check out this video where I walk through the whole thing. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more yoga routines and self-care practices. 

If you want to go even deeper, check out my different classes online. I teach classes for both yoga participants and teachers who are looking to get certified. I also have a book out called Let Your Fears Make You Fierce, which will help you push through your fears so that you’re no longer held back from a life of peace, prosperity, and happiness.

Let me know how this yoga routine works for you. You can tag me, @koyawebb, on Instagram, and let me know how it went. Thank you so much for joining me today, love. Until next time, love yourself, love others, and love the world. 

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