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Best Restorative Poses for Stress Relief

It’s that time of year where everything and everyone starts to slow down and turn inward. The cooler temperatures of Autumn are fast approaching. It’s almost time for cozy sweaters and fluffy boots and pumpkin spice everything. With the turning of the seasons, our bodies seem to crave a slower, deeper practice.

But season’s change also brings that brooding thought that the holidays are right around the corner. Though traditionally a happy time, holidays can bring on a lot of added stress and anxiety for many people. Here’s a simple restorative yoga practice to help relieve some of that unnecessary pressure. For this practice you will need two blocks, and a bolster, all of which you can purchase in the studio.

Supported Child’s Pose

Come onto the hands and knees. Bring your big toes to touch, and have your knees wide apart. Take the bolster between your legs longways, then taking your palms to the floor, send your hips over your heels and walk your body out long, resting your torso over the bolster. You can hug onto it like a pillow or rest your arms off on the sides. Turn your head to either side, making sure to switch the direction about half way through. Once you make yourself comfortable stay in the pose for 7-10 minutes, focusing on the in and out motion of the breath.

Supported Twist

Lay the bolster longways on your mat in front of you. Come to sit with your right hip next to the base of the bolster. Lay your knees down to the right and slide your left knee back so that it rests in the arch of your right foot. Then swing your left hand around, twisting to the right, and walk your front body out over the bolster resting your arms to either side. Again, the head can take whichever direction is most comfortable. If you are pregnant or have a spinal fusion of some sort, take this as a half twist, lying on the right side rather than the belly. Stay here for 8-10 minutes, then switch to the other side.

Supported Prone Lying

Leave your bolster where it is. Take both of your blocks and place them side by side longways right at the base of your bolster. Then come onto your knees. With your fingertips, identify where your hip bones and hip creases are. You will take that hip crease space to the edge closest to you, resting your hip bones over the blocks, and then walking your torso out straight over the bolster. Relax the legs and rest your head to either side. You’ll then switch halfway through. Stay here for another 8-10 minutes.

Supported Supine Baddha Konasana

Take one block farthest away from you at the back of your mat, and place it on its highest height. The next block will be 6-8 inches away from the first block and be at its medium height. Then, lay your bolster longways across the blocks. Come to sit facing away from the props with your tailbone all the way up against the base of the bolster. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall apart. If you have tight hips you may want to find a couple extra blocks or books or something for under the knees. You’ll then begin to lie back over the props, allowing your arms to fall to either side, broadening across the collarbone and chest. Take deep, slow breaths here, minding the rise and fall of the body. Stay here for 10-15 minutes.

To finish the practice you can take any one of these poses again or rest in a traditional Savasana. If you finish this one and find that you just have to have more, then come in and take one of our restorative yoga classes at Joy Yoga Center. This October we will be offering some new Flow and Restore classes, so come see what that’s all about.

By Caty Christy

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