As Christmas day looms I’m wondering if your inbox is like mine, crammed with thank you’s, seasons greetings and messages to get in that last minute shop for loved ones. It’s intense! All I want to do is curl up with a good book and “for getta about it”….easier said then done!
Luckily my trusty mat is in range, inviting me to hop on at a moments notice, in case it all gets too much. I love that yoga is free, available any time and guaranteed to take the edge off. So what’s the best kind of practice for this time of year? Hands down it has to be Restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga is a fancy name for lying around in passive positions with various props including blocks, bolsters, ropes, chairs and a wall. I first came across restorative yoga in my late twenties, back then it was part of the Iyengar yoga system designed to help you get into postures you couldn’t necessarily do on your own. I can vividly remember being strapped to a chair in some backbend or other and thinking either I’m really desperate to get this yoga thing, crazy or both…
Sometimes its easy to forget how beneficial it is to be passive in the postures. We spend so much time thinking of Yoga as a workout. Perhaps using the practice to increase our insulin sensitivity or lower our blood glucose level.
But what about our stress?
Restorative Yoga is all about dumbing down stress. When you stop and hold a pose without effort and focus on your breath, you’re heart rate and blood pressure lower, cortisol levels decrease and vitality returns to the whole body/mind system.
Incorporating a restorative yoga practice into your weekly routine can make a huge difference to your overall wellbeing. Taking a break from relentlessly high expectations is more important than having a perfect A1c.
So What are my 4 favourite poses to chill down when it all gets too much? Check out this simple routine below…
Wishing you a very beautiful holiday season… Rachel
Child pose variation
Come to sit upright on your heels with your knees together
Keep the big toes touching as you take your knees wide apart
Gentle walk your hands forward
Extend your spine while drawing the shoulder blades onto your back, hands are shoulder width apart
Rest your forehead on the floor, if it’s uncomfortable turn your cheek to one side
Stay here for a few minutes
Reclining wind expeller
Lie on your back with the legs extended and parallel to each other
Feel length from the crown of your head to your tailbone
Bend the right knee and interlace the fingers over the shin
Gently draw the thigh towards your chest
Keep your heel in line with your knee
Flex evenly through both feet, activating the legs
Draw the tailbone down to the floor, feeling the lower back lengthening along the floor
As you breathe in and out feel the right side of your belly receiving a deep massage
Hold here for 5-10 breaths
Release the leg and repeat on the other side
Inverted leg posture
Lie on your back have your knees bent and feet flat
Exhale draw your knees to your chest
Inhale and extend your feet to the sky
Rest your arms alongside your body
Hold here for 10-15 breaths
Your abdominals will be gently engaged
To finish exhale and bend the knees back to the chest
Lower the feet to the floor
Rest here for a moment knees touching and feet wide apart
Lie on your back bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together
The feet can be close to the groin or further away depending on what’s comfortable
Close your eyes place your hands on your belly
Breathe deeply and relax hold for 20 breaths