Restorative Yoga: 5 Poses for a Mindful Releasing

The vanishing of a mindful release slowly escapes like water trickling through your hands as you yearn to grasp it. Its paradoxical nature coyly teases our sense and sensibility. We are taught that working hard and gritting through difficult times will and should lead to successful results. Yet, the harder we grip and struggle to let go, the more mysterious and enigmatic the release. So, how do we learn to let go and just be mentally? Two simple phrases comprised of four short words that take us to a long, lifetime love affair with ourselves.

Let’s begin with this breath. Invite a moment to pause and inhale, be just as you are, then exhale and let it go. We strive to remind ourselves that we are enough in this moment and every moment to come.

These five poses are designed to help you relax, calm down, and release your mind. Play around with the length of time you spend on your mat, especially at times when it is least convenient.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) – Variation

Supta Baddha Konasana has become one of the most popular poses for therapeutic purposes. This anchor-shaped heart opener can help you relax and calm your mind. This asana has many variations. In this one, you can rest your hands overhead. As you shield your head, the arms overhead create an unconscious feeling of safety. It also opens up the highway between the armpits to allow for deeper connection and relaxation. Rolling a blanket under the outer leg (the upper thigh) will help the muscles work less and stretch more. Use a bolster to support your spine and as close as possible to the sacrum if you are experiencing lower back pain. Hold for 5-20 Minutes

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) – Variation

Adho Mukha Svanasana, a powerful asana practiced by millions of yogis every day, can feel anything but therapeutic. It’s amazing how props and blocks can change a practice. The blocks under the crown of your head are a great example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action, there is an opposite reaction. The blocks support and give feedback to the body as the head gently rests on them. A mental release is encouraged by a request to work less. Hold for three to ten comfortable breaths, focusing on the crown and mental relief.

Uttana shishosana (Extended puppy pose) – Variation

It would be a mistake to believe that this asana is named for its cuddly and cozy quality. A puppy might stretch similarly. This stretch of the chest, shoulders, and armpits reminds us that comfort does not equal restorative. This sensational pose takes some time to achieve steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha). For extended holds, a blanket placed under the knees or shins will provide additional comfort. You can practice the Uttana Shishosana without blocks if you are experiencing shoulder pain or tightness in your chest or back. Hold for 2-5 minutes.

Balasana – Child’s Pose

Balasana, named after the way humans grow in utero, is a popular way for babies and young kids to sleep. It’s adorable and appears to be very peaceful for the children. Our bodies change as we grow, and our weight is distributed differently. Our sleeping positions are adjusted to the changes in our bodies and environments. Balasana, supported by bolsters and blankets, can be an ideal place to take a moment of mindfulness. In this variation, one blanket is placed under the calves to support the knees. Another veil is placed underneath the chest and between the legs to keep your lower back. You can set another blanket beneath the shins if your feet tend to fall asleep easily or if you suffer from knee pain. Hold for 5-10 mins on one side. Then switch the cheek that is resting on the bolster, and hold it again for another 5-10 mins.

Supta Kapotasana (Supine Figure 4 Pose)

Supta Kapotasana, one of many restorative supine asanas that use the wall to open the hips and the knees externally, is particularly helpful for those who find it difficult to do the pigeon position but would like their hips and legs externally opened. This variation allows you to interlace your fingers, toes, and crossed legs in figure four. Yoga says: Open toes, open mind.

You don’t have to hold each pose for a set amount of time. Slow down and listen to your body. To make this practice work for you, pause every day and exercise for at least 5 minutes.

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