Tag Archives: back bend

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Supported Bound Angle

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Supported Bound Angle Pose is a back bend that will increase the energy in the body.  This position will open the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.  The benefits the pose offers the areas restricted by sitting and standing are tremendous.  Other benefits include helping those with high blood pressure, or breathing problems.  Bound Angle can also help relieve symptoms of menstruation and menopause.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you have spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis or if you continue to have any discomfort in your neck, spine, or knees after adjusting your props.

To set up this pose, you will need blocks, a bolster, and blankets.  A sandbag, strap, and eye pillow are optional.  Place your blocks at either the highest and medium level, or medium and lowest level.  Prop your bolster against the blocks.  If using a strap to help your feet stay in place, loop it around your lower back and on the outside blades of your feet.  Rolled blankets can be placed under your knees when your legs are in a diamond shape.  The shape of the diamond in your legs is dependent on your comfort level.  Place your bolster setup at your lower back and sacrum area and lean back until you are touching the bolster.  Tighten the strap until you feel supported and comfortable.  A sandbag may be placed on top of your feet and an eye pillow can be used to eliminate stimulation.  Place your arms by your side and add blankets or blocks for more support.  If you feel any discomfort in your neck, spine, or knees, come out of the pose and adjust your props or the shape of the diamond in your legs.

Once you are set up in the pose and comfortable, start to settle into the props and begin your inhales and exhales.  Stay in this pose as long as it is comfortable, average time may be 10-15 minutes.

To come out of the pose, remove the eye pillow, and place your palms on the mat to slowly lift your body away from the bolster.  Remove the strap and sandbag if used.  Stretch your legs out in front of you and spend a moment here preparing for what’s next.

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.

Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Reclined Hero’s Pose

 

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img_1340Reclined Hero’s Pose is a back bend that will provide a generous stretch in the quadriceps, knees, and ankles.  As a back bend, this pose will also open up the front upper chest to aid in creating space for the lungs to expand, can relieve indigestion and nausea by lifting the diaphragm, and may reduce fatigue in the legs.  It may also relieve pressure in the head that has been caused by sinus congestion.  This pose will add energy to the body.  You will feel more of a stretch in this pose, which can be uncomfortable, so find the variation that you can hold for a period of time.

Advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  You will want to avoid this pose if you have any back, shoulder, or knee injuries, suffer from migraines, insomnia, or had a recent chest or abdomen surgery.  You can enjoy this pose if you are pregnant.  You will want to be more inclined in setting up.

To set up this pose, you will want to have a combination of blocks, bolsters, and blankets.  You will want to start in a more inclined version until your body has adjusted to back bends and the quad stretch.  The more you practice this pose, you can simply place your bolster as support(without the blocks) to recline on.  You may also want to isolate the stretch to one leg at a time.  Start by kneeling with your legs hip-width apart and feet pointing straight behind you.  Slowly sit down between your fit.  You will want to avoid twisting your ankles and feet to the side.  You can spread your calves apart as you start to sit down for more room.  If this is comfortable, you can proceed in setting up Reclined Hero’s Pose.  If this puts any strain on your knees, ankles, or feet, experiment with placing a bolster, block, or blanket beneath you.  Once you find the right amount of support, you are ready to set up the rest of the props.  Start setting up your blocks with one on the highest level and the other on the middle level.  Prop your bolster against the blocks.  Make sure your bolster is touching your sacrum(flat part between your spine and top of buttocks).  Start to recline your chest onto the bolster.  Check in again here to notice any pain or major discomfort.  Remember, you will feel a generous stretch in your quads.  If you discover any pain, come out of the pose, and readjust your props.  If the stretch is too intense, come out of the pose, and practice with one leg stretched out in front of you.  Your arms will be relaxed beside you and you can use either blocks or blankets to add more support underneath.  You are welcome to place an eye pillow over your eyes to reduce stimulation.

Start to settle into the pose and relax.  Begin your rhythmic breathing here, feeling your chest expand with each inhale and exhale.  Stay in Hero’s as long as it is comfortable, average time may be anywhere from 3-5 minutes.  If you are practicing one leg at a time, remember to spend equal time on both sides.

To come out of this pose, gently tuck your chin, and use your palms face down on the mat to slowly press your torso away from your bolster.  You may push yourself onto your hands and knees and straighten one leg at a time.  Standing up or sitting with your legs stretched out in front of you for a few moments will help you adjust to the effects of the pose.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up with pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.

Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

 

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Simple Supported Back Bend

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Simple Supported Back bend is a gentler version of a back bend and may be a nice place to start.  Back bends are a great way to counteract the rounding of our shoulders that tends to happen daily when we are sitting at a desk on the computer, using any mobile device, or driving a car.  Many people habitually carry tension in the shoulders and may suffer from tension headaches from doing so.  This pose will help open up that area and encourage breathing as we tend to hold it when we are carrying tension.  This pose adds energy to the body and can leave you feeling refreshed.  You will feel a gentle stretch in your upper chest and shoulder area.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any yoga practice.  Cautions for this pose include spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, or disc disease.  Avoid if you are more than 3 months pregnant or during menstruation.  I’ll offer variations for those in a future post.  If you have any pain in your lower back during this pose, come out and find a different variation.

For this pose, you will want to try using a bolster, a folded blanket, or a pillow under your back.  Find which height is comfortable for your back to hold for a period of time.  Use a rolled up blanket under your neck for more support and as a way to allow the throat to open.  Sit on your mat with knees bent with your prop against your back.  Slowly bring your back down towards your prop and your head to the ground with your neck roll in place.  Your arms can be placed beside your body or out to the sides in a “T” shape.  Spend a moment in the shape taking stock of how it feels.  If you feel any pain or discomfort, come out of the pose and try another prop at a lower height.  You may want to use an eye pillow to reduce any stimulation and a blanket over your body to keep it warm.

Once your are comfortable in the pose, start your inhales and exhales, and settle in.  Stay in this shape as long as it is comfortable.  Average time may be 1 to 5 minutes.

To come out of this pose, do so slowly.  Roll to either your left or right side with your knees on the ground.  Spend some time here adjusting to the pose.  When you are ready, slowly use your top arm to press yourself into a seated position to prepare for what is next.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

Resources:

Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.