A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Lena Schmidt

You know those days when everything feels difficult. Days when your sluggishness can’t be remedied with yerba matè, when the ad for baby diapers makes you well up, when the thought of checking off even the tiniest item on your miles-long to-do list makes your skin crawl and your head ache and your brow furrow … you get the idea. You’re overwhelmed. Burnt out. OVER IT.

Whether it’s spring fever, a case of the Mondays, a seasonal fog, a life shift, or intense grief, feeling overwhelmed is exhausting. Energetically you may be experiencing an excess of kapha energy. That increased apana vayu, or downward force, can manifest as lethargy, apathy, and disinterest in regular tasks. The couch becomes your best friend.

On the other hand, perhaps you are more of a jump-into-action kind of person. You may feel overwhelmed by anxiety, a racing heart, or as though you can’t catch your breath. This could indicate an excess of fire energy, or pitta, coursing through you.

Or is it that you’re increasingly forgetting what you were just doing? You’re usually on top of things but lately you’ve been scatter-brained, running late, and sipping shallow, short breaths. All those balls in the air, not being juggled well, all destined to fall/drop/hit you right on the head may indicate an excess of vata, or wind, energy.

Either way, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, moving toward balance and a recalibration of your Prana, or life-force energy, is key. Next time your life feels unmanageable, try this sequence to move back into balance emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Sit Comfortably

Often simply taking a break can calm the nervous system and do the trick.

Try it:

  • Sit in a chair or on a cushion.
  • Be still for 5 to 10 breaths.

Benefits:

  • Redirects attention from the sense of overwhelm
  • Creates stillness in the body
  • Resets energy

Sama Vritti Pranayama

Evening out the breath can help bring tough emotions under control.

Try it:

  • Sitting in a chair or on a cushion, breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of four.
  • Continue for several minutes, maintaining the balance of inhales and exhales, lengthening the count if you wish.

Benefits:

  • Helps focus the mind on the present moment
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body and mind
  • Establishes a centering tone for the rest of the practice

person mediation Set an Intention

How would you like to feel? You can align yourself with what you’d like to feel by setting an intention.

Try it:

  • Choose a word or phrase you’d like to align yourself with or a characteristic you’d like to cultivate more of in your life.
  • Allow the intention to become a mantra that you repeat silently in your mind with each inhale and exhale.

Benefits:

  • Creates a sense of purpose
  • Makes space for new desires
  • Redirects attention from the sense of overwhelm

child's poseChild’s Pose (Balasana)

Sometimes curling into yourself is just the ticket.

Try it:

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