This entry was posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2015 3:12pm Is your body feeling tight like a rope after gruelling hours of working out in the gym? Or are you simply a beginner puzzled at the thought of nerve-racking stretches? If you answered yes to either of the above questions, read on. The good news is that you can overcome these issues with a few easy restorative yoga poses. Consider the below before starting this practice: • Be at ease. Listen closely to your body. Don’t force yourself to perform any yoga posture if you’re feeling pain or discomfort. • Relax your senses. Set aside enough time to practice each pose in a peaceful environment. • Breathe consciously. Learn how to inhale and exhale completely. Expand your low belly, mid-abodmen and chest fully while inhaling and allow them to contract while exhaling. Viparita Karani Asana (Legs Up The Wall Pose) 1. Sit on the floor with your right hip against the wall. 2. Roll onto your back stretching your legs up the wall as you do so. You will end up with your torso on the ground perpendicular to your legs up the wall. 3. Optional: You may place a bolster, blanket or pillow under your lower back. 4. Take soft, deep and complete breaths while holding this position for about 3-5 minutes. Note: You can hold the position for longer once you’re comfortable with the pose. Benefits: The legs and heart are placed at a higher level than the head in this asana. The nervous system experiences a sedative effect due to this shift in position. Viparita Karani also enhances lymphatic drainage (which also makes it great to practice after a long day sitting at a desk or on an airplane). Supta Matsyendra Asana (Reclined Spinal Twist Pose) 1. Lie down straight on your back with your legs extended on the ground. Bend your left knee, and cross it over the right leg (which remains straight). Your left knee should be bent at a 90 degree angle touching the floor over the right leg (use a block or a bolster underneath your knee if it doesn’t reach the floor). 2. Keeping your back flat on the floor, inhale, and on the exhales slowly twist your torso towards the left. Aim to get your left shoulder blade on the ground (if it pops up you can use a block under your forearm or wrist for extra support). 3. Hold this position for 2 minutes. 4. Repeat the same set of steps on the opposite side. Benefits: The supine spine twist asana helps heal sore muscles in your hamstrings, outer thighs, and back. Balasana (Child’s Pose) 1. Kneel on a mat and position your knees together or hips width apart. 2. Move your torso forward, hinging at your hips so that your abdomen rests on your thighs. Rest your forehead on the floor or a block if your neck is pitching forward (not in line with the rest of your spine). 3. You can choose to keep your arms beside your hips or stretch them forward on the floor above your head (keeping them shoulder width apart). Note: You can place a pillow or blanket in between your glutes and heels, if you are having trouble sitting on your heels. Benefits: Stretches entire back body as well as the sides of the body (especially if you stretch your arms forward). Also stretches the quads, knees, shins and tops of the feet. Calms your mind. Savasana (Corpse Pose) Lie down on your back with your legs extended forward on the ground. If your chin is elevated and cervical vertabra compressed, fold a blanket and place it under your head so that your neck remains long and in line with the rest of your spine. Rest your arms straight beside your hips with your palms facing upward. Close your eyes. Relax your forehead, eye brows, eyes, all the muscles of your face, your jaw, your tongue and your throat. Focus on your breath. Feel the heaviness of your bones and the lightness of your muscles draping over them. Let go of your thoughts and if they arise, try to be a witness to them. Watch them pass across the screen of your mind and then watch them disappear into the space around you. Benefits: Typically practiced at the end of every yoga session, corpse pose provides complete relaxation of the body, mind and soul. Nothing beats feeling strong and energetic after you sweat it out doing your favourite fitness workout. But every now and then, you need to help your body recover with special attention. The above restorative yoga poses are designed to help unwind your mind, body and spirit from rigorous workouts so that you can complete your session feeling calmer and comfortable in your body. Additionally, these poses make use of basic yoga principles that help you de-stress, which helps keep your body supple and young!