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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Restorative Yoga - Chill time you just HAVE to try

One of my favorite specialty styles is Restorative yoga. In one class, we started with three narrow pranayama bolsters, two blankets, an eye pillow and two blocks. Added as we went: 2 more blankets, 1 sandbag, and a strap.

We utilized a timer with a quiet chime at 30 seconds before the 10 minute mark to indicate the time to take three breaths to bring back awareness and prep to move to the next pose.

The poses:
Asana 1 - Salamba Bharadvajasana (supported twist of the sage Bharadvaja). This one is also safe for prenatal so long as it's fully supported and the body doesn't twist too deeply. Set up the bolsters stacked in line with pelvis, at hip, feet to other side. Lift up to extend spine, gentle start to twist, reach hands down to and around bolster and relax torso front (if possible, else side) on props. To increase twisting, turn head to side away from legs - then sink deeply - no holding! Change sides after 5 minutes.

Asana 2 - Salamba Supta Baddhakonasana (supported reclined bound angle pose). Two stacked bolsters, one folded blanket on top, another top blanket folder to 1/4 or 1/8 size to support head. Additional blanket at bottom of bolster for tailbone support. Student reclines onto stack, one block under each forearm for support during this nice heart opener. Feet together, knees wide, a long rolled blanket or towel (straps can be too constricting) put on top of feet then wrapped around and under the shins to support the legs. 10 minutes.

Asana 3 - Salamba Balsana (support child's pose) Students leave Asana 2 and turn around to face the stack. with knees wide, then draw stack close in to groin, realigning the pieces to make appropriate room for belly and bust. Sore knees may require another bolster under groin through to back of body, and/or a blanket folded and placed between calves and  thighs. Face rests in a u-shaped folded blanket, or between two smaller pranayama bolsters in a V shape. Blanket over feet/back. 10 minutes.

Asana 4 - Viparita Karani (legs of the wall) . Large bolster parallel to wall (or double rolled up yoga mats) with a blanket on top. Students sit next to one short end with back to the support, lay down on their side, then roll their hips on to the support. Support may need to move a few inches from the wall or more to allow legs to relax up against wall. Thinly folded blanket under head for cushioning.  Prenatal students Some students may want a strap around the mid upper thigh to help hold legs upright (esp. in cases of hip flexor laxity or sore knees), and some may want a weight (sandbag, or block) on top of feet to seat the femurs into the pelvis snugly. Arms away from body, palms up. 10 minutes. Prenatal students over 23 weeks modify with stacked bolster to provide at least 20% angle of torso to floor, and distance from wall to allow legs to not strain, or even calves placed on the seat of a chair or three additional stacked bolsters.Sore knees may require another bolster under groin through to back of body, and/or a blanket folded and placed between calves and thighs. Face rests in a u-shaped folded blanket, or between two smaller pranayama bolsters in a V shape. Blanket over feet/back. 10 minutes

The Ending: Savasana with support. Supine position, bolster/rolled blanket mat under the knees, thin folded blanket under the head. Eye pillows options. 10 minutes or more - this is a great time to indulge in some Yoga Nidra!

The Results: Try for yourself and see :)

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