The theme for this month’s practice series is.
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
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and fold forward from your hips, with your spine long. Keep a little bend in your knees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Slowly come up from your fold and take a couple deep breaths standing tall before you move into the rest of your day.