Practice Series: Surrender into Softness with Ragdoll Pose

 

The theme for this month’s practice series is LETTING GO

The things we hold onto metaphorically often have a way of showing up in our physical bodies too. For example, when I hold on tightly to a sense of control—rather than finding flow and trust—it manifests as tightness in my jaw. Daily stresses and anxieties often show up as tension in the neck and shoulders. (Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Yep, there’s a reason for that expression.) 
 
In yoga, forward folds are a great way to practice surrendering. Physiologically, they relieve stress and help your nervous system downshift from fight-or-flight into rest-and-digest. And as we practice letting go on a physical level, there’s often the space to let go emotionally and mentally as well.
 
Ragdoll is a softer version of a forward fold, meant for release rather than rigidity (as you can guess from the name itself). You can do it in the middle of the room or—even more deliciously—standing with your glutes against a wall for support. 

Practice: Ragdoll Pose

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward from your hips, with your spine long. Keep a little bend in your knees.
  2. Let your upper body dangle down and your head get heavy, and start to notice any areas in your body where you’re holding tension. Find a little movement to release those areas—e.g., rock your head side to side, circle out your wrists, sway your hips.
  3. Become still and let your arms hang. Imagine any pent-up tension or stress dripping down from your arms, toward the support and steadiness of the earth.
  4. Inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale with a sigh. Repeat 3-5 times. If there’s something in particular you’d like to let go of, imagine releasing it with each sigh. 
  5. Slowly come up from your fold and take a couple deep breaths standing tall before you move into the rest of your day. 
     
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Anna Befort

About

Anna Befort is a magazine editor, freelance writer, yoga teacher, and avid tree climber who’s proud to hail from Midwest farm stock. Co-founder of Invoke Magazine, she’s inspired by creative grassroots collaborations and the ability of her black lab Samira to fully inhabit the joyfulness of each moment. She tries to use her grammatical superpowers only for good, and she loves sharing women’s stories and wisdom at invokemagazine.com.


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'Practice Series: Surrender into Softness with Ragdoll Pose' have 2 comments

  1. November 9, 2015 @ 5:45 pm Andrea

    This edition of the Practice Series couldn’t have come at a better time. With the upcoming new moon in Scorpio, which demands that we be honest about what does and doesn’t serve us in our lives, I felt delighted and relieved to see this month’s theme. Ragdoll pose offers a gentle somatic gateway onto the path of Letting Go. This afternoon it offered me my first palpable sense of relief in several weeks. I am looking forward to the rest of this month’s practices!

    Reply

    • November 13, 2015 @ 11:43 am Anna Befort

      Andrea, thank you for sharing this perspective about the new moon in Scorpio. That adds even more depth and intrigue to the letting-go journey we’re taking this month!

      Reply


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