Most people have come to accept that stress is just a part of life. Multitasking is the norm and getting things done at the last minute has become the norm. What people don’t realize is that all this commotion can harm the nervous system. You don’t have let stress build up in your body because there are helpful, restorative yoga poses that are conducive to the optimal functioning of the nervous system. They can almost bring you back to life, to some degree.
There are two parts to the central nervous system: 1) the sympathetic nervous system, which is where the fight or flight mode comes from; and 2) the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to support and balance natural processes such as breathing, metabolic rates, and heart rate. The sympathetic nervous system is typically overworked in the average adult. Restorative yoga poses come in handy because they help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which works to strengthen and balance the entire central nervous system.
Before completing the following yoga poses, it may be beneficial to release overall tension in the body by performing several sun salutations. Find a quiet and peaceful area to perform these restorative yoga poses. If playing music helps you relax, then play your favorite tunes. Try to not think about anything else and just let the restorative healing happen.
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
This pose helps to relieve tension in the hips and helps to promote healthy circulation in the abdomen and helps improve digestion. Make sure that you fold a towel or blanket at the top of your yoga mat, so that you can prop your head on it. This makes your forehead higher than your chin, which helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
2. Supported Balasana (Supported Child’s Pose)
Child’s Pose is a classic yoga move that is typically used for resting. The idea is to just let go and completely relax. When you use a bolster, or a stack of blankets, it gives your body a lot of support. This isn’t required, but you may feel like it helps.
3. Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero’s Pose)
This yoga pose requires a bit of flexibility and it may require additional support underneath the torso. If you feel tightness in your hips, psoas muscle, or hips, revert to Child’s Pose and rest. If you do make it into this pose, try to hold it for five or ten minutes for the most benefits.
4. Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall)
This isn’t quite a shoulder stand and it doesn’t involve inverting the uterus (for women), which means it is safe to do during the menstrual cycle. Strive to get your gluteus muscles against the wall and have your heels touching the wall.
5. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
This is a breathing exercise that you can do seated upright or reclined. This technique helps to unclog any blockages in the central nervous system and works to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This is great to do after you complete the four previous yoga poses.