Yoga Pose Guide: Restorative Poses
06/06/2012 | 05:28 PM
Here are some of our favorite restorative yoga postures. End your day with 2-3 of these and you will reduce stress, sleep better and feel a greater sense of well-being.
1. Rabbit Pose
Stress can age you prematurely and deprive your skin of its natural healthy glow. The rabbit pose releases the tension in your back and shoulders all the way up to your neck and head, relieve the physical symptoms of stress.
- Kneel down. Lower yourself slowly so that you are sitting on your lower legs and feet.
- Keeping your arms to the sides, lower your torso down to your thighs, and your head down towards the floor.
- Press your forehead lightly to your knees.
- Extend your arms backward and try to hold on to the base of your feet.
- Inhale deeply.
- Exhale as you gradually lift your hips.
- Keep your forehead as close as possible to your knees and the top of your head near the floor or mat.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and hold the pose for 5 seconds.
- Relax and repeat.
Note: You may want to cushion your head and knees with a folded towel.
2. Legs Up The Wall Pose
This pose is also known as Viparit Karani. It calms your senses, relieves swollen or cramped legs, and gently stretches the calves, back and neck. See a photo of this pose here.
- Lie on the floor near a wall.
- Inhale and swing your legs up so that your heels are on the wall and your hips are supported against it.
- Lie back so that your head is lined up directly with the top of your spine. Your spine should extend in a straight line from the crown of the head to the tailbone.
- Exhale, bending your knees slightly.
- Inhale and place a small towel over your eyes. Keep them closed.
- Try to maintain the position for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Exhale and bend the knees completely, lower the heels down the wall and roll off to the right side. Lie on your side for a few breaths before coming up to sit upright, back against the wall.
Note: If you have any lower back or neck pain, fold a yoga mat or thick towel and place it under your back and neck.
3. Wind Release Pose
Pawanamuktasana, or Wind Release Pose, helps strengthen the core muscles while releasing pressure in the abdomen. This relaxing exercise is beneficial for women with abdominal pain, acid reflux and excess belly fat. Practicing this pose every day will help flatten your stomach and improve your mood. See a photo of this pose here.
- Lie down flat on your back on a mat with your legs together and stretched out. Place your hands at your sides.
- Bend your right leg and grip it with both hands.
- Interlock your fingers and press your thigh against your abdomen.
- Raise your head and touch your nose to your knee.
- Breathe deeply for at least 5 breaths or 10-30 seconds.
- Release your leg.
- Repeat with left leg.
- Lastly, repeat with both legs, pressing your thighs hard against your abdomen.
- Breathe deeply, at least 5 breaths.
- Release, straighten your legs and relax.
4. Crocodile Pose
The Crocodile pose relaxes the muscles and relieves fatigue. It helps to reduce high blood pressure and stimulates the small intestine, which aids the digestive processes. See a photo of this pose here.
- Lie flat on a yoga mat with your chin, chest and abdomen touching the ground.
- Stretch your legs, keeping them together, with your arms at your sides.
- Inhale and raise your trunk and head.
- Exhale and place both hands on opposite shoulders, grasping lightly.
- Do this in such a way that your folded elbows rest exactly above one another your forearms crossing the opposite upper arms.
- Inhale. Rest your forehead on your folded arms and dip your face in the space in between.
- Exhale, close your eyes and relax.
- Continue with abdominal breathing and maintain this position for as long as you comfortably can.