We have been in “unprecedented times” for most of this year. There are so many different stressful, heartbreaking things going on in our community and our state, including a literal storm coming at us right now. And I gotta say, I am feeling it. I am feeling so many things I don’t always know what to do with it or how to process it. And when I find myself here in the midst of the storm, yoga is my tool of choice to find my center and my calm in the chaos.
Unfortunately, when chaos is rampant and stress is high, we may feel like taking time to rest and practice restorative yoga is the absolute last thing on the list. We may feel like there is no time. But this may be the time when we need to recharge the most.
As discussed in my previous post, Creating the Calm Before the Storm, restorative yoga is a practice where you move your body into ultra-comfortable positions and then stay there for extended holds. Imagine propping yourself onto lots of pillows and really letting go. It’s an incredible sensation, and it’s great for your body too. When we stay in the “fight or flight” high-stress mentality for too long, it takes a toll on our bodies. Restorative yoga helps to calm the nervous system and let us reset.
Quick Recharge for “Unprecedented Times”
Here are the three poses you can try out. Make whatever adjustments you need to be super comfortable. Feel completely supported so you can really let go. I am recommending a 20 minute practice with the times below, but feel free to adjust this to suit you. You could try one, two, or all three. You could go for shorter or longer times. It’s up to you.
Optional props: I find using (1) an eye mask and (2) a microwaveable clay heat pad that I have heated to a low heat add to my relaxation, especially when I am short on time.
Supported Fish Pose – You will need at least two pillows. Place one pillow in a horizontal direction and another perpendicular to it in a vertical configuration. Lay down on the top pillow so that your neck and back are fully supported and slightly elevated, with your head supported and slightly hanging over the back of the top pillow. You can extend your legs out straight, you can bend your legs and place your feet on your mat with your knees gently resting against each other, or you could bend your legs, bringing the soles of your feet together and letting your knees open out to the sides. Your hands could be down by your side or out to the side. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for 5 minutes.
Supported Child’s Pose – Stack two pillows or folded blankets. Kneel at the edge of your pillow stack. You may find it comfortable to keep your legs together, or it might be more comfortable to find a wider stance. Experiment to find what works for you. Sit back so your hips are on your feet. Lean forward to lay over the pillow/blanket stack, placing one cheek down. Your hips may come off of your feet, and that’s fine. Your arms can be over the pillows, on the sides of the pillows or down by your sides. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for 5 minutes, turning your head and switching to the other cheek halfway through.
Supported Relaxation Pose – Use the same two-pillow set up from the Supported Fish Pose. Lay down on your pillows so that your head, neck, and back are fully supported and slightly elevated. Your head should not be hanging over the back of the pillows this time. Extend your legs out. You may want to use a rolled towel/blanket for extra support underneath your knees. Alternatively, you can bend your legs, with your feet on the bed/mat, gently resting your knees against each other. Your arms can be down by your sides or out to the side. Make any adjustments you need to be completely comfortable and stay here for 10 minutes.
If you would like to practice with me, check out my Vimeo page at www.vimeo.com/quadrantfit. I have this 20 minute restorative practice, as well as other free restorative, yin, pre-natal, vinyasa, and gentle flow sessions posted. Weathering the Storm is available here.