Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Relaxation Pose

katieyoga-0196

Relaxation Pose is the more important shape in restorative yoga.  If you have time for one yoga pose during your day, do this one.  Relaxation pose lowers blood pressure and heart rate, enhances immunity, helps with insomnia, reduces fatigue, releases any muscular tension and can help manage chronic pain.  This pose will neutralize energy in the body and you will not feel any stretching in the body as the goal is a complete release.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you are more than 3 months pregnant or feel any pain or discomfort.  This pose can be replaced with side-lying pose if you are unable to do this pose.

To set up this pose, you will want to have a bolster, a few blankets, eye pillow, and possibly sand bags for added weight.  Place your bolster horizontal on your mat approximately where your knees will be.  Use one blanket as a neck roll for more support.  Have another blanket handy to cover your entire body as your body temperature will drop while lying flat.  Lean back slowly to where the bolster is supporting the backs of your knees.  If your feet don’t touch the floor, place a blanket, pillow, or other support underneath them.  Place the neck roll under your neck to where your chin is slightly lower than your forehead.  If you feel any pinching in your lower back, place a folded blanket vertical under your lower back.  Place another blanket on top of your entire body.  Your arms can be out to the side palms facing up or down, whichever is more comfortable for you.  If you would like to add some weight to this pose, you can place a sandbag across your pelvis which will encourage your lower back to release.  Sandbags can be placed on each shoulder or propped on a block with the edge pressed gently on your forehead.  Lastly, place your eye pillow over your eyes to reduce stimulation.

You may began a rhythmic breath pattern or settle into your natural inhales and exhales.  A cleansing breath(inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth) may be a nice way to began the pose as it will signal to the body to relax.  You can stay in the position as long as it is comfortable.  Average time will be between 10-20 minutes as you need enough time to experience the wonderful relaxation that this pose brings.

When you are ready to come out of relaxation pose, remove your eye pillow and sandbags.  Bring some slight movement to your fingers and toes.  Roll over to your left or right side and spend several moments in a side-lying position to notice the effects of the rest.  When you are ready, use your top hand pressed into the ground to slowly and deliberately press yourself into a seated position.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.