Patanjali is known as the father of modern yoga though it is believed that yoga has been a part of Indian history since the pre-Vedic period but it received attention from western society in the mid-nineteenth century and began gaining importance in the 20th century.
Yoga is all about the union between mind, body, and spirituality, and gaining Moksha (liberation) is the ultimate goal.
Yoga had not only been deeply involved in Hinduism it had also been involved in some disciplines of Buddhism and Jainism as well though most of them are unfortunately lost to time.
Yoga involves :
Asana- It consists of body postures.
Pranayama-It involves breath control.
Meditation- It helps keep the mind sharp, get rid of stress and anxiety.
Followed by cool down yoga – It helps in absolute relaxation of the body.
Just like every other concept yoga cool down too has its: how, why, and when.
The ‘ When’ of cool down yoga:
A cool down is a very important part of the yoga session, though it is to be done at the end. It lasts for about 3-10 minutes or in some cases it may be as long as 90 minutes depending on the intensity of the session.
The ‘ Why’ of yoga cool down:
Because yoga involves several asanas and pranayama the body is in state of elevated temperature with high heart rate and since yoga involves various such as twists and bends you might, unfortunately, pull a muscle during that yoga session, that’s when yoga cool-down helps in stretching out your tight muscles also softening what is tensed up besides strengthening what is weak and allowing your body to be in a loose and relaxed state.
Yoga cool down is responsible for the following :
Just like most forms of exercise, a session of yoga causes the heart rate to increase and pump blood faster but at the end of the session going through cool-down yoga brings down your heart rate to normal and helps you avoid fainting and lightheadedness.
It is no surprise that exercise causes breathing to become deeper which is a sign of calories burning in your body and the pranayama in yoga exclusively focuses on breathing techniques.
After finishing a yoga session it is important to bring the breathing level back to a steady rhythm as increased breathing levels have the potential of causing chest pains, nausea, fainting, develop bluish tint on lips and nails and change mental awareness triggering anxiety, etc.
Yoga enables you to become aware of your entire body besides becoming more focused and improving concentration, so it won’t be wrong to help yourself relax by a few quick cool-down exercises and give your body a break as you reflect on all the accomplishments you have achieved during the session and develop confidence in it as this promotes a sense of relaxation of wellbeing you rightfully deserve after a good yoga session.
The ‘How’ of yoga cool down:
It involves a series of hip openers, passive inversions, and reclined twists.
Some of the best examples are:
Reclined Goddess Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana:
This cool down yoga exercise requires you to bring the soles of the feet together close in toward the hips and then letting your knees fall open to either side in the goddess pose. There are several different props you can use in this cool-down exercise such as folded blankets, a block, or a bolster under each knee to keep from the floor and take in 10-20 breaths to help cool down.
Seated Forward Bend:
It involves sitting with your legs extended in front of you then lifting your arms and then bend your hips in a forward position by placing your hands on your legs and hold this position for 1 minute.
This cool down yoga exercise helps in normalizing the heart rate and getting your breathing in control.
Sitting on the mat you should stretch out your legs in the front and bending your knees bring them in as close as you can to your body. Wrap your arms around knees. Inhale and rock backward on to your back and as you exhale; kick forward to return to the original sitting position. Repeat this about 8 times.
This cool down yoga exercise helps in improving spine flexibility besides getting rid of tight hamstrings and also massages the abdominal muscles.
Upper body stretch:
This cool down exercise can be done either in standing or seated position as you interlace your fingers and press your palms up toward the ceiling while maintaining a straight spine and place your left arm in front of your right side and turn your palms to face each other and stretch your hands up and back and then repeat the whole process on the opposite side.
Happy Baby or Ananda Balasana:
For this cool down yoga exercise, you are supposed to bring both knees to your chest and hug them. You can choose to hold onto your feet for as long as you like and then gently bring your feet down then roll to each side. Take at least 10 breaths for this cool-down exercise to be effective.
Supine Spinal Twist or Supta Matsyendrasana:
This cool down exercise can be done by lying down on your back and stretching your legs straight then bend your right knee and place it over your left leg then lightly press the right knee down with your left hand.
Follow this up by stretching your right arm out the right side and turn your head to look at the right hand then relax your shoulders focusing on your breath. Stay this way for five long breaths and then repeat the same on the other side.
This cool down yoga exercise benefits the body by stretching and massaging the torso, abdomen, spine along with relieving severe back pain.
This is a simple cool-down exercise of yoga that involves lying on your back with your left leg bent or extended. Draw your right knee in toward your chest and interlace your fingers around the front of your shin.
Hold this position for up to 1 minute and then repeat on the opposite side. You should do this for 3 to 4 times on two opposite sides.
Legs up the Wall or Viparita Karani:
For this posture move closer to a wall and lie on the right side with your knees and your hips and extend your legs straight up the wall.
To finish it, bend the knees toward your chest and roll to one side.
This cool down exercise helps in strengthening the back and making the spine flexible.
Reclining Butterfly Pose or SuptaBaddhaKonasana:
This yoga cool-down exercise involves placing your arms alongside your body or overhead and holding this position during the cool-down exercise for up to 5 minutes is advisable.
Pigeon Pose or Pada Rajakapotasana:
For this cool-down exercise, it is important to prop yourself with a blanket or block under the right glute. It’s important to have support there so you can be comfortable and relaxed and then with your right leg come into a forward fold and let the weight of your torso rest on your front leg.
Roll your hips if they differ in inclination until they are at an equal level and stay in this manner for two minutes taking approx. twenty breaths and then repeat the process by switching left leg forward.
Downward-Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Start this yoga cool-down exercise by moving your hips up and back all the while keeping your spine as straight as possible.
Then spreading your fingers press your weight evenly between hands and move your legs in paddle motion by pressing one heel into the floor at a time.
Hold this position for an entire minute.
Child’s Pose or Balasana:
This cool down exercise requires you to put your knees together and sitting on your feet then exhale as you slowly lower your body down touching the torso to thighs and forehead to floor all the while relaxing your arms by your sides and palms facing upwards.
Hold this pose for 5-10 long breaths.
This yoga cool-down exercise is ideal for calming the mind as it reduces stress. Besides normalizing blood circulation it also helps in lengthening and stretching the spine while relaxing tension built up in neck and shoulders. Mildly stretches the hips, thighs, ankles, and keens.
Corpse Pose or Savasana:
This is the most preferred cool down exercise by yoga instructors. It requires you to lay on your back, slightly separate your legs, and let your arms and palm go lax, stay this way for 10 minutes focusing on nothing but absolute relaxation.
Yoga is an activity that helps you stay fit and if you are serious about taking through the care of your health it is necessary to have a proper cool down before wrapping up the session, as without it you might have to go through some serious consequences.
Check this: https://yoga-world.org/yoga-for-neck-pain/