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rest and restore

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Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses for Immediate Stress Relief

When we are at ease in body and mind, we feel open, expansive, and grounded. We are able to show up for ourselves, others, and our work fully, and we are our best selves.

However, when we experience stress, we tend to feel scattered, uncomfortable, and unsettled. The physical manifestation of stress might express as inconsistent and short breaths, tightness in the body, and tension in the face.

Stress is a mindset that we adopt (either consciously or unconsciously) in response to a given situation. More often than not, stress is an unsupportive addition to our daily lives.

Restorative Yoga is an antidote to the harm caused by stress, offering an opportunity to step back and reset the mind and body. A restorative practice offers a reprieve from stress that allows us to reframe our approach toward external stressors.

 
It can feel counterintuitive to take a time-out from our day when we feel pressed for time or burdened by an approaching event or deadline. Perhaps the very reason we feel stressed is because we feel short on time.

However, there can be value in taking a few minutes to change the channel in our minds and slow the pace of our inner dialogue. By taking the time to reassess, we might recognize the stress we carry to be unnecessary, and we can address the role of stress as an obstacle to our end goals.
 

Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses as Your Go-To Yoga for Stress Relief:

The Restorative Yoga poses below offer a holistic approach to stress relief. Restorative Yoga can imbue our lives with a fresh perspective, introspection, and a broader understanding of our response – a stark contrast to the narrow-minded thought pattern imprinted by stress.

Taking a moment to pause and break the cycle of tension can do wonders for your day, offering ease in the body, mind, and breath. The next time you need to recenter, give one or all of the poses below a try.
 
Props You Will Need: 4 blocks, 2 blankets, 1 bolster, optional eye pillow.
 
If you do not have the yoga props listed, please feel free to supplement with items found around your home. Firm pillows and/or a couch cushion can be a great substitute for the yoga props used in the poses listed below.

1. Restorative Twist

This Restorative Twist is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and gather grounding energy. Support under your belly offers a soothing effect, which alleviates feelings of worry and strain.

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Let’s try it:

  • Place two blocks on your mat, the first block on its lowest height and the second block on the second height

  • Lay your bolster over the two blocks so you create a slope with the bottom edge of the bolster touching the floor

  • Snuggle your right hip at the base of the bolster with your knees bent to the left and your hands framing your props

  • Keep your navel as close to center as possible and lie down so the front of your body is supported by the bolster

  • Tuck your arms underneath the bolster and between the blocks

  • Your head can turn toward or away from your knees. Choose whichever option feels best for you neck

  • Enjoy each side for up to five minutes

Check out the other poses and the full article on YogiApproved

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Rest & Restore with Legs-up-the-Wall

Rest & Restore with Legs-up-the-Wall

Only have 5 minutes to squeeze in a yoga practice? No problem! Let me introduce you to one of my all time favorite yoga poses, Legs-up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani). This restorative gem can help restore energy, boost circulation, reduce stress as well as help with jet lag and insomnia. This pose is a restorative inversion, making it the perfect pose for tired, swollen legs and feet, at the end of a long day. All you need is a spare wall and a few minutes to transform your day.


The step by step:

Sit beside a wall, with your hip touching the wall and your knees bent up towards the ceiling. Gently lie down on your back and slowly swing your legs up the wall. 

A couple of sweet additions to this pose include a low folded blanket under your head, a blanket under your hips and/or an eye pillow over the eyes. Feel free to add one or more of these calming options to your practice.

Stay for 5-10 minutes. If your legs fall asleep, bend your knees in and then re-stretch them as you are ready. 

To exit the pose, roll to one side, pause here for a few breaths and then make your way up to sit.

Enjoy the rest of your day or evening, feeling rested and restored.  


*Consult your doctor before trying this pose if you have any concerns about practicing inverted poses