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July 11, 2017

7 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Unwind

By Guest
6 Comments

Inline_Resting ButtrerflyToday’s guest post is offered up by Jessica Gouthro of PaleoHacks.com. I feel like midsummer calls for some good R&R. Enjoy the chance to kick back and relax with her routine, everyone.

A simple restorative yoga practice can teach you to truly relax your body, tune in with your breath, and calm your stressed-out mind.

Restorative yoga uses props to aid in physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.

As you do these poses, keep in mind the goal is not to “work hard” like you might do in a traditional flow yoga class. The goal is to get comfortable, hold still, and allow your mind to slow down and the tension to release from all areas of your body.

In this practice, we’ll use a mat, a chair, and a rolled-up blanket for some moves, but you can also use a pillow or bolster in place of the blanket and/or the edge of your bed or couch in place of the chair.

If you are feeling stressed, give these 7 postures a try and feel the results for yourself.

Supported Child’s Pose

Supported Child's Pose

Kneel on your mat with your knees wide and feet touching.
Place the rolled up blanket underneath you, making sure it will be long enough to support your head when you lay forward.

Walk your hands out all the way and rest your head to one side on the blanket.

Sit your hips back all the way toward your heels and get comfortable.
Breathe deeply as you relax into the posture.

Hold Supported Child’s Pose for about 1 minute.

Kneeling Twist

Kneeling Twist 1

Kneel on your mat in an all-fours position.

Thread one arm through the middle and twist your torso until you can place that shoulder on the ground.

Press into the floor with the opposite hand to exaggerate the twist.
Breathe and relax.

Hold this Kneeling Twist for 30 seconds, then switch to the other side and hold for another 30 seconds.

Supported Relaxed Plow

Supported Relaxed Plow

Lie on your back.

Kick your legs up and over into a plow position.

Support your lower back with your hands.

Relax your legs, allowing your knees to bend comfortably down by your ears.

Breathe and relax.

Hold Supported Relaxed Plow for about 30 seconds.

Seated Wide Leg Supported Forward Fold

Seated Chair Support wide leg

Sit in front of your chair (or bed or couch) and stretch your legs out wide to the sides.

Lean forward and place your forearms on the edge of the chair with your forehead resting on top of your arms.

Relax your feet and legs and just get comfortable with the stretch.

If this feels like too much stretch, you may bend your knees.

Breathe deeply and relax.

Hold Seated Wide Leg Supported Forward Fold for about 30 seconds.

Legs Elevated Resting Pose

Legs on Chair

Lie on your back with your butt very close to the front of the chair (or bed or couch).

Place your legs on top of the chair so that knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Lift your arms up for a goal post shape, with the backs of your hands rested on the ground.

Ensure that your shoulder blades are tucked flat on the ground and chest is lifted to attain the most restful position. There should be a natural curve in your lower back.

Breathe deep and relax into the posture.

Hold Legs Elevated Resting Pose for about 1 minute.

Resting Butterfly

Resting Buttrerfly

Sit on your mat, placing your rolled-up blanket at the base of your spine and stretching out behind you.

Put the soles of your feet together with knees wide to form a “butterfly” shape with your legs.

Lie back and fold the top of the blanket over again to create a small pillow for your head to rest.

Stretch your arms out to the sides with palms facing up.

Breathe deeply and relax into the posture, allowing your knees to fall towards the ground comfortably.

Hold Resting Butterfly for about 1 minute.

Savasana

Savasana

Lie flat on your back with legs extended and arms by your sides.

Adjust your shoulders and hips until your find a comfortable resting position. Allow a natural curve in your spine.

Hold Savasana for about 1 minute.

These poses are incredibly restorative and effective for reducing stress, calming the nervous system and allowing us to unwind after a busy day.
Hold the postures as long as you like or repeat the sequence more than one time.

I hope you will return to this practice next time you feel stressed and share what you’ve learned with anyone needing to unwind in a healthy way.

Thanks again to Jessica Gouthro from PaleoHacks.com for the great restorative routine today. Questions, comments, suggestions for more stress (or de-stress) related topic on MDA? Share them on the comment board, and thanks for reading today, everybody.

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6 Comments on "7 Relaxing Yoga Poses to Unwind"

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sue nelson
sue nelson
12 days 23 hours ago

As a yoga teacher and serious practitioner I am happy to see restorative yoga well presented. It is an incredibly beneficial practice within the yoga sphere and deserves attention. I do wish that once in a while, we could see practitioners that fall outside the “young, thin, bendy, white girl wearing a sports bra” motif. It is so hard to get other populations, like older women, people of color, and health compromised interested when all we see everywhere are the same young bendy gals.

Margaret
Margaret
12 days 18 hours ago

Amen, Sue! I just took a class called “Yoga for Round Bodies” and it was really motivating and inspiring to take a class with people who had bodies that look like mine. I didn’t feel stupid and inept like I do in regular yoga classes. I think most skinny yoga teachers don’t know how to help modify poses for people whose bellies get in the way.

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
12 days 23 hours ago

I have been doing the plow (and a few other poses) since I started doing yoga 40 years and obviously never got tired of it. Another option, is to raise the legs, point them toward the ceiling, hold for a short while and lower back gently. It’s one of many benefits is that it acts as a liver flush – try it and feel the blood surge.

wildgrok
wildgrok
12 days 23 hours ago

Hi Jessica
Thanks for posting this sequence, will try it today and most likely it will become part of my collection of goodies

Ros
Ros
12 days 18 hours ago

The interesting thing is that, given the option, any of these poses is how my toddler can be found naturally resting. Suddenly I’m very pleased that I’ve been insisting that the daycare workers leave her alone to read her book in whatever pose she choses instead of insisting that she sit on a chair.

Elizabeth Resnick
12 days 13 hours ago

Something about the kneeling twist looks awkward to me. The rest look amazing, and it’s a great reminder to do some yoga at home. I grew up doing yoga with my grandmother in the 70s and always love it when I take the time to actually do it. This is a great reminder to take a few minutes for ourselves…thank you!

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