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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.