Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Relaxation - Day 23

This gentle heart-center opener will help you get rid of that hunched feeling you get after sitting all day.

Setting up for the pose:
The main prop for this pose is a therapeutic spinal strip. If you don't have one of these, you can use a swim noodle, a tightly rolled thin mat, or a tightly rolled towel. You might also need a thin, folded blanket and, if your roll is on the large side, a thick folded blanket.

Coming into the pose:
Sit in front of your therapeutic spinal strip (swim noodle/rolled mat/rolled towel) and then lay down on it at about the bottom of the shoulder blades. Your spinal strip should extend out from under your armpits - you should not be resting your shoulders on your prop. You can experiment with what feels the best to you. If your head is tipped way back or you feel unsupported in the neck, place a thin, folded blanket under the head and neck - not so thick that your head tips forward. Your head should be level with the body or slightly tipped back. If you feel like you are in too big of a back bend, place the thicker folded blanket under your bum.

While in the pose:
Send your arms out to the sides, palms up to encourage the heart center to open. Keep breathing, keep observing the pose in your body, and 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. I like to lay with my knees bent but some of my students prefer to have their legs straight. See what feels right in your body.

Coming out of the pose:
Option 1) Bend the knees, roll to one side, pull the spinal strip and other props out from underneath you, and then lay back down on your back.
Option 2) Bend the knees, press the feet into the floor, lift up the hips to bridge pose, and pull the spinal strip and other props out from under you.
Either way, hug the knees in and take a few sacrum circles or extend out to a full body stretch. A nice follow-up pose is a Supported Reclining Twist.