My 3 Favourite Restorative Yoga Poses to Relax
Over the past 8 years, I’ve had the pleasure of soaking up the knowledge and wisdom of my Yoga teachers and learning new ways of quietening my busy mind, through different breathing techniques and movements.
Yoga has been a fundamental tool of mine for cultivating more calm, managing anxiety and stress, and taking care of my body. It’s helped me practice the art of non-striving and to become more in tune with my body and feelings.
Here are my 3 of favourite restorative yoga poses to relax:
- Legs Up the Wall: Place a folded blanket, cushion, bolster, or yoga block lengthways against a wall. Position yourself so that you are lying down on your back with your legs up the wall and the small of your back is supported by your prop. Place your hands over your heart or by your side with your palms facing up and breathe deeply in this position for 5-10 minutes, until you feel a tingling sensation in your feet. To come out of this pose, slowly bring your legs down the wall and back towards your chest. Either roll over your prop to one side and use your hands to come back up slowly, or place your feet against the wall for support, as you carefully push the prop out from underneath you. Again, roll over to one side and use your hands to help you come back to a seated position.
- Supported Reclined Butterfly Pose: Place your bolster lengthways so it is in line with the length of your spine. Bring the edge of the bolster right up against your lower back and hips, before you gently drape yourself over the bolster and allow it to support your spine, shoulders, neck, and head. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the side, making a diamond shape with your legs. If you find your inner thighs are receiving a strong stretch, you might like to support the outside of the knees with a block, cushion, or folded blanket on each side. To come out, use your hands to gently bring your knees back together, before rolling onto your side and use your hands to help you back up to sitting.
- Supported Bridge: Lying down on your back, bring the soles of your feet onto the floor, about hip width distance apart. Reach your arms down by your side and see that you can just reach your heals with your fingertips. Take a yoga block or bolster and place it width ways or horizontally underneath the small of your back. Make sure to position your prop so that the two dimples in the small of your back or the two hip bones in your back are supported. You want to ensure you’re not placing any weight onto the curve of your spine. To come out of this pose, gently lift your hips to the sky and slide the prop out from underneath you. (If you don’t have a bolster, you can try using a rolled up towel, or forgo the prop altogether and still enjoy this pose and its benefits.)
Remember that with each pose, the aim is to feel supported, relaxed and to focus on breathing slowly and deeply into your lower abdomen.