Restore your Energy with these 3 Yoga Poses

The holidays are upon us!  And whether or not you enjoy winter sports or cherish these night snuggling in, our bodies are shifting gears to adjust to the change in temperature and climate.  Oftentimes we find ourselves fighting colds or flus that circulate around with weakened immune systems.  These poses are universally great to restoring the body back to good health.  Each one has immense benefits that will leave you feeling blissful and energized when linked together and held for long enough to really let the breath soften any tension out.

I recommend having one bolster, a strap and two blocks to practice these postures.  I have given you a second option in case you do not have props at home.  Enjoy!

1.  SUPTA BADAKONASANA (Supine Bound Angle Pose)

This pose is wonderful for relieving pressure in the lower back, tension in the shoulders and tightness in the hips.   It opens up the chest and can assist with clearing congestion in the lungs.

To practice with props

  • Place the bolster down length wise down your mat
  • Come into Badakonasana (soles of the feet together, knees open up wide, sitting tall)
  • Place a huge loop in your strap and bring it around your body (like a hoola hoop).   Frame the strap along the top rim of the pelvis and around the feet (should cross the top of your ankles)  The heels can be as close or far away as feels comfortable.  Adjust the strap as necessary.
  • Place two blocks underneath the knees for support (can also use pillows here depending on your flexibility)
  • Lay back on the bolster.  Rest for 5-10 minutes.

Without props

  • Lay down on your mat
  • Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open up wide
  • Bring one hand to your heart and the other to your belly
  • Breathe.  Rest for as long as feels comfortable

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2.  SUPINE TWIST (Simple twist)

Twists help to release pressure in the lower back as well as neutralize the spine.  Deep twists should be avoided if you are pregnant or have any sciatic pain, otherwise it’s very healthy for releasing compression between the vertebra discs along the spinal column.  Twists are also known to have a detoxifying affect on the liver and kidneys.

To practice with props

  • Lay your bolster length wise down your mat
  • Bring one hip up to the bottom end of the bolster, allow the knees to fall comfortably on top of one another (I like to think of this as “mermaid-ing the bolster”)
  • Take a deep breath in through the noes to lengthen the spine (sit up tall) and twist the chest over the bolster.  Start to walk your fingertips forward until the chest rests all the way down on the bolster.
  • Turn which ever cheek feels more comfortable down on the bolster.  Rest for 5-10 minutes on each side.
  • Tip…take your time descending down and feel free to adjust the bolster as you descend.  It will feel much better with more length in the spine (esp the lower back!)

Without props

  • Lay down on your back
  • Draw your knees into the chest
  • Open the arms to the side (like a T)
  • Drop the knees to the right, hold for 5-10 breaths and bring over to the left, hold for 5-10 breaths

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3.  VIPARITA KARANI  (Legs up the Wall)

One of the most beneficial poses that is accessible to most everyone.  Viparita Karani has all the benefits of an inversion without the pressure on the shoulders and wrists.  Please be mindful of practicing this pose while on your menstrual cycle or if you have any eye related issues such as glaucoma.

To practice with props

  • Lay down on the floor and bring your feet up a wall.  Your hips do not need to come all the way to the wall, this varies depending on your hamstring flexibility.
  • Take your bolster (or I used a sofa cushion) and place it underneath your sacrum (base of the spine) so your lower back is supported.  Some prefer to have their hips slightly off the bolster to compliment the curve in the lumbar spine.  I am extremely limber in my lower back, so I prefer the cushion which offers my hips to sink without over arching.  You should feel the inner groins and hip flexors release.
  • Bring the arms into any comfortable position (above the head, down by the sides, on the belly)
  • Rest for 5+ minutes…some enjoy holding this pose for up to 20 minutes!

Without props

  • Lay down on the floor and run your feet up the wall (same instructions without the bolster)
  • Hold for 5+ minutes

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At first Viparita Karani may feel uncomfortable until your hamstrings open up and gravity begins to pull the blood down the legs which allows the femur bone to drop into the hip socket.  This pose is great for relieving tension in the lower back, rebalancing the hormone (endocrine) system, calming the nervous system, reducing swelling and inflammation in the ankles, hips, and knees as well as reducing emotional ailments such as anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue.

These are all great poses to practice after a long trip, traveling, or right before bed.  Don’t allow the stress of the holidays to wear you down.  Enjoy the time spent with loved ones, family and friends while keeping your energy levels high.  Take more time to restore and rejuvenate rather than deplete through constant motion and chatter.  This is the perfect time of year to tap into your inner wisdom and get the rest your body needs.

In light ~

Ali


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