3 Restorative Poses
Savasana III– 10a “Corpse/relaxation pose with calves on chair seat”
This pose helps to rest the back, legs and chest, shoulders, arms, head and neck after a lot of gardening. I stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes until I feel that my body has completely rested and released into the floor.
Support your calves with the seat of a chair or couch. Ensure that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and that it feels like your calves are completely rested (taller people may need some extra height such as blankets under your calves.) Lengthen the torso completely along the floor and support your head and neck with a blanket or folded towel up to the tops of your shoulders so that your hairline is in line with or slightly higher than the bridge of your nose. Arms can be 45 degrees away from your torso or in line with your shoulders. Experiment to see what feels best on your body.
How it should feel:
You should feel like you can totally release the body into the supports, the chair and the floor. As you stay in this pose, pay attention to the different parts of your body starting from the calves working up the torso towards the neck and head and releasing the backs of the arms completely. Notice what side of the body releases more easily and use that side as a “teacher” to help the other side let go completely. Soften the abdomen, soften and feel the broadness across the chest and soften the arms completely.
Ardha prasarita padottanasana 17a – “Supported wide-legged forward bend” ~ abdomen supported by a table or back of a couch.
This pose “passively” releases the back muscles and the backs of the legs. By supporting the abdomen on the table or the back of a couch (slightly higher for taller people), your back muscles have the support to release and let go.
The top of the thigh should be right at table height (dining room table or kitchen island may work well) or couch height. You can adjust the width of your legs so that the top of your thigh is at the height of the table (if you are taller take them wider.) Turn your toes/feet in and press your feet down into the floor. Keep your feet pressing down, straighten your legs completely and firm your thighs. Then let the abdomen rest completely on the table. As you let the abdomen release the muscles of the back will release. Rest your forehead on your hands or turn your head to one side and periodically change sides. You can repeat this pose 3-5 times and hold for 10 breaths.
How it should feel:
Depending on your body, you may feel a small stretch (less stiff) or a big stretch (stiffer). You may also feel the stretch more in the lower back or the upper back or again on more one side of the back than the other. Where you feel the most stretch usually indicates where your back is likely tighter.
Viparita Karani – 54a “Inverted lake-OR-Legs up the wall pose”
The legs are supported by the wall and are able to release towards the wall and down into the pelvis. This pose rests your legs completely after a lot of squatting when gardening or after a long day of standing or sitting. It is helpful for back pain and tired legs and excellent to refresh the body and mind when travelling.
To come into the pose: Sit with the side of your body as close to the wall as possible on the outer edge of your mat with your knees bent and swing your legs up the wall as you lie down in the centre of your mat. (Pretend you are 8 years old!) Get as close to the wall as your body will allow with your buttocks resting on the floor and the torso lengthened away from the wall. Support your head and neck with a blanket. NOTE: Stiffer people will likely be somewhat further away from the wall in order to get their buttocks down on the floor.
How it should feel:
You want to have a feeling of the legs resting towards the wall so that the torso can rest completely towards the floor. If you feel like your legs want to bend, then you may need to slide further away from the wall. After the legs and torso have released completely, soften the abdomen, chest, arms and head and neck. Stay anywhere from 5-10 minutes in this pose.
If you only have time to do one pose try pose #1 or pose #3 and stay as long as the body and the mind are able to rest. Enjoy