Can you even remember the last time you truly relaxed? The last time you let your mind and body just go, no worries, no stress, no day-to-day business clogging up the works.
Taking time for a little relaxation and doing some restorative yoga, even for a few minutes a day, can boost your health in a whole bunch of ways. "It helps kick in the relaxation response, balancing the nervous system and optimizing energy flow to the organs. This level of relaxation is known to lift immune function, enhance the process of digestion, and sets the whole body up for deep healing, growth, and repair. It also helps you release habitual tension, making you more comfortable and at ease in your body," says Jillian Pransky, director of therapeutic restorative teacher training for Yoga Works. Sounds wonderful right?
put together the following 6 restorative yoga poses to help you mellow out:
Supported Child's Pose
Sit on your heels and spread your knees about hip-width apart or slightly wider, with your big toes touching. Place a bolster or a stack of pillows or folded blankets in front of you (high enough and firm enough to support you). Lean forward and rest your torso on the padding, turning head to one side and draping arms over sides. Close your eyes and completely relax. Rest here for five minutes.
Supported Reclining Bound Angle
Stack pillows or folded blankets/towels to make a rectangular stack about a foot high. Sit in front of the stack with your hips on the floor, then lie your ribcage and head back on the stack. Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. Grab a pillow or a stack of blankets/towels and wedge them under your thighs to allow your legs to relax there. Use as many props as you need to make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes and relax here for five minutes.
Supported Side-Lying Savasana
You'll need quite a few blankets, pillows or bolsters for this one, but it's totally worth the set-up involved. Start by lying on whichever side feels more comfortable, with a bolster, pillow, or a folded blanket underneath your head. Place a bolster or pillow (that is about the height of your top hip) lengthwise in front of your torso. Bend your top leg and place your knee and shin on top of the cushion. Keep your hips square. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, allowing yourself to relax. Stay here for five minutes.
Supported Pigeon Pose
This pose is salve for cranky, tight hips. Start by building up support across the front of your pelvis using a bolster, folded towels, or blankets. Place your right knee, hip, and shin on the bolster and extend your left leg behind you. Make sure your pelvis is evenly supported on both sides, then hinge torso forward at your hips. Additional padding under your forehead or chest will help you soften your neck and shoulders. Breathe deeply, relaxing here for five minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
Supported Heart Opener
Create support using a bolster or folded towels/blankets along the length of your spine. Allow your torso to rest on the padding. You can extend your legs as shown, or bring your feet flat on the floor and allow your your knees to fall together, keeping feet hip-width apart. You can rest one hand on your heart, the other hand on your belly, or allow your arms to fall out to the sides with your palms facing up. Breathe deeply, allowing yourself to relax as your chest opens. Rest here for five minutes.
Supported Shoulder Stretch
Lie on your stomach and place a bolster or a rolled towel under your lower ribs. Take your right arm over your left and reach the arms away from each other with your palms facing up. Make sure you have a big enough towel roll or bolster in order to take the weight off of your shoulders so you can relax here. If this is too intense, add another towel to rest some of the weight on the towel. Relax here and hold for one minute. Cross arms so left arm is over right arm and repeat on opposite side.
I feel more relaxed already! What are your favourite relaxing yoga poses?