In today’s day and age, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. You can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, chasing expectations and tasks that you can never finish. As a result, your sleep can suffer, you can lose energy, and you can compromise the immune system. It’s time to take a break from the chaos and practice restorative yoga.
What Is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga poses involve gentle backbends and twists, seated folds, and other movements that are often supported by props. When you don’t have to completely support yourself, you can further relax into the stretch. You also hold restorative yoga poses for five to ten minutes, as opposed to five to ten breaths. The intention of restorative yoga is to relax both the body and mind, but it can be a challenge. It’s a fusion of meditation and light exercise, and the more you practice, the easier it becomes. You may find that your mind and body start to crave the restorative poses.
The following restorative yoga poses can help calm the mind by forcing you to slow down. Practice these poses whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Supported Forward Bend
Sit down on your buttocks and extend your legs out in front of you. If it’s more comfortable, you can place a thin pillow or towel under your buttocks to elevate the sit bones, which is great if you have low back pain or hip problems. Place a bolster on top of your thighs and fold forward, hinging at the hips until you are completely supported by the bolster. Turn your head to one side and let your arms fall to the floor. Remain in this pose for five to ten minutes.
Supported Bridge Pose
From the supported forward bend pose, lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground about six inches from your buttocks. You should be able to reach your heels with your fingertips. Place a yoga block directly under your sacrum and let your arms extend out to the sides, overhead, or simply relax them on your stomach. Hold this pose for about five minutes.
Supported Fish Pose
From the supported bridge pose, remove the yoga block out from under you and come to a seated position, extending your legs out in front of you. Grab a bolster or long pillow and place it behind you so that it is touching your lower back. Slowly lay back onto the bolster and let your arms drop to the sides, keeping your palms facing upwards. You can remain in this pose for as long as you like, but five to ten minutes is sufficient.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
From the supported fish pose, sit back upright and place the bolster to the side. Lie down on your back and bend your knees, drawing your heels as close to your groin as possible. Open your knees out to the sides and the soles of your feet will touch. You can remain in this pose if you want a deeper stretch in your inner thigh, or you can place a yoga block under each knee for a lighter inner thigh stretch. Stay in this pose for five to ten minutes and breathe deeply.
Thread The Needle Pose
From the reclining bound angle pose, sit up straight and then bring yourself into a tabletop position. Keep your palms on the ground directly under your shoulders and keep your knees on the ground directly under your hips. Lift the right arm up to the ceiling, and then gently twist your torso as you thread your right arm under your body, coming to rest on your right shoulder. You can also rest your right temple on the mat, directing your gaze at your right hand, and make sure to keep your left arm extended beyond your head. Hold this pose for five minutes and then repeat on the other side.