Monday, November 30, 2009

Supported Reclining Twist

Enjoy Supported Reclining Twist

Coming into the pose:
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Have a support ready on each side of your body. Shift your hips to one side and let your knees fall to the other side. Snuggle a bolster under your back hip and bum to support staying in the twist and let the stacked knees rest on a second bolster as they fall towards the floor. Try to keep the shoulders on the floor, keep the heart center open by extending the arms away from the body, palms facing up, and let the head turn away from the knees. Stay as long as you are comfortable.

Changing sides:
Let the head come back to center. Remove the support from under the back hip. Engage the core slightly to support the spine and then bring the legs back to upright, helping the legs with the hands if needed. Settle into the second side the same way as the first and try to stay here an equal amount of time.

Exiting the pose:
Let the head come back to center and then keep turning towards the knees. Remove the props from under the knees, lay on your side for a few breaths, and then gently push yourself back to an easy seated position.

If this twist is not to your liking try Supported Side Reclining Twist ~ Salamba Bharadvajasana.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Supported Corpse Pose ~ Salamba Savasana

Enjoy Supported Savasana Pose

I always conclude my Restorative class with Supported Savasana. I encourage my students to go nuts and prop themselves in all the ways that would support their body's comfort. This picture only shows a bolster under the legs and an eye pillow but you can get really creative with supporting yourself.

Here's some ideas for increasing comfort and adding support (you don't have to do them all - but you could try for fun):
  • A small roll under the low back for lumbar support
  • A small roll under each wrist
  • A small roll under the neck and/or a pillow under the head
  • A small roll under the ankles
  • Add a sandbag over the pelvis to encourage the hip flexors to let go
  • Add a sandbag on each shoulder to encourage releasing tension
  • Add a sandbag over the diaphragm to increase breath awareness 
  • A blanket over the whole body to keep warm

I'm sure there are more tips and techniques out there but this is a great place to start. Stay in Supported Savasana for as long as you like, encourage the mind to focus on the breath: the feeling of the breath in the body, where the breath is in the body, where can't the breath get to in the body, the feeling of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils or the feeling of the breath bellowing the belly and the belly falling back into the body on each inhale and exhale. Let the mind settle into breath awareness as the body settles into stillness.


Read more about Savasana here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Supported Wide-Angle Fold ~ Upavistha Konasana

Enjoy Supported Wide-Angle Forward Fold

Wide leg forward fold can be done from a standing position or seated. Generally for my Restorative class we are seated and have multiple props to support this sometimes difficult opening.

Setting up for the pose:
Gather a number of different props: a chair, or a couple of blocks, or a few pillows/bolster, also, either a blanket for sitting on or else a wedge.

Coming into the pose:
Sit in front of a chair, block or bolsters with your legs open wide (about 90 degrees). Support your low back by sitting on a wedge or a folded blanket. Toes draw back toward the body and knee caps point toward the ceiling. Reach out through your heels. Hinge forward at the hip crease, walking your hands out and resting your forehead on the block, bolster or chair. If you are using a chair or bolster pile you can place your arms on the chair’s seat, hinge forward at the hip crease and rest your head on your forearms, keeping length in your spine.

While in the pose:
Keep breathing, keep observing the pose in your body, allow the body to open at its own rate. Commit to the stillness but do allow yourself to adjust your props and your body as you settle deeper in.

Coming out of the pose:
To come up, bring the hand to the floor to support the torso, inhale and hinge or roll back up from the hips, protecting the spine.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Legs on a Chair

Enjoy Diaphragmatic Breathing with Legs on a Chair Pose

OK - Legs on a Chair sounds silly, I know. But it is actually quite delicious and easy to do. Plus you can do it at work, home, or on the road. All you need is yourself, the floor and a chair, couch, or some other raised surface.

Setting up without additional props:
Sit down in front of a chair or couch with the seat of the chair/couch towards you. Sit with one hip facing your prop. As you start to lay back, you must also swing your legs up and your body around so your bottom is towards the chair. When you are turned tail to the chair, settle your legs onto the chair's seat, making sure they are completely supported from the backs of the knees down to the feet.

Setting up with additional props:
Start the same as above but add a small lumbar support, an eye pillow and sandbag (or big bag of rice) to lay over your stomach and lower ribs.

Settling in:
Lay here as long as you are comfortable. Close your eyes, give your mind the job of watching your breath, and commit to the stillness.

Coming out of the pose:
Bring awareness back to the body, remove the eye pillow, remove the sandbag, draw the legs into the body and roll to one side. Linger here for a few breaths then slowly push up on your side.

This is a great short break at the office, you can practice it in a hotel room if you are travelling, or any other time you want.