When we start to feel that we are taking care of ourselves and as we go deeper in our practice and land in trust, we will eliminate all that is no longer useful to us and find peace. Through the practice of letting go and letting be we can re-write our story.
As with all restorative poses, our aim is to feel grounded enough to fully relax and release tension. I invite you to practice the pose of the month for 10 minutes / day (use a timer). Even per week is fine. While restorative poses look easy, that doesn't mean they are. It can be difficult to really relax and remain silent with your breath! Thoughts aren't so easy to let go of. Judgments may enter wondering what the point of this is. If you find yourself having difficulty, start with 5 minutes and slowly allow yourself relaxation. Conscious relaxation. The need to strive and drive keeps us in flight or fight. We need deep relaxation to reverse the damage on our nervous systems.
Read more about how Restorative Yoga heals here.
Supported Side Twist
Benefits: Cleanses the abdominal organs, quiets the mind, and invites the breath to calm down. Forward folds allow inward reflection.
Contraindications: Pregnancy or lower back ailments.
Relaxing into a twist pose can feel deep. I recommend holding each side for 5 minutes each but do listen to your body and adjust. Even 2 minutes on each side will bring benefits. Twists can help us wring out stuck energy and emotions. They will help wring out your abdominal organs and supply fresh blood to them once you come out of the pose so they are great for cleansing. Use this pose to help ease you into the holiday season and find forgiveness and clarity.
Props: Optional sticky mat. One or Two blankets. One rectangle bolster (can also use cushions and pillows as long as they are longer than your abdomen.)
Prepare: Place your bolster lengthwise along the center of your mat. Feel free to have a blanket at the foot of the bolster for extra softness, a long rectangular folded blanket to place on top of the bolster for extra height or softness, and a blanket on top of you for warmth.
Shape: Come to sit with your right hip along the short side of the bolster but not on the bolster. Stack your knees and then stagger them. You can rest your top foot in the arch of your under foot. Knees are bent and shins go to the left. Lift your chest and breast bone as you lengthen up through your spine and twist so that your abdomen is facing the long bolster. Lie down on the support of the bolster and rest your right cheek on the bolster. If you wish to deepen the sensation you can place your left cheek on the bolster. I don’t love that version but experiment and see how it feels on your neck. Restorative poses should not stretch but should open, so there is no need to experience discomfort. Set your timer to relieve anticipation for 3-5 minutes. Then slowly come back up to sit. Turn to face your back to the bolster and turn to your left side and repeat.
Practice: Make any adjustments necessary to ensure that you are comfortable. When ready to settle into pose, enjoy several long breaths to allow yourself to relax. Feel the support from the floor, your bolster, or imagine mother earth below you. Relax, and deepen into this grounded feeling for up to 5 minutes (shorten this time if there is discomfort to your knees or any discomfort of any kind) each side. Come to notice your breath. Take note of your inhales and exhales. No need to change your breathing pattern just observe. Let go of the thoughts that enter your mind. If that becomes difficult, come back to noticing your breath. Close your eyes if you wish.
After doing both sides, hold your belly in and take your time to come up to an easy sitting pose. Stack your hands over your heart. Set an intention to stay aware of your breath when thoughts overwhelm you. Namaste.