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Supta Baddha Konasana- Supported Reclined Cobblers Pose
For the past few weeks I have spent my Friday evenings teaching a Restorative Yoga class, with the intention of providing my students with an opportunity to really relax and stretch. Restorative Yoga is unique in that it involves supporting the body with bolsters, blankets, blocks or other props in order to comfortably hold the postures for several minutes at a time. At first the long holds and the props can take some getting used to, especially if you are someone that typically enjoys a flowing or vigorous style of yoga. Restorative postures ask as much from the mind as they do from the body; patience and surrender, slow down and live in the moment. Breathe and let everything else fall away.
A great way to begin practicing restorative postures is to add a couple that you enjoy into your personal practice. Engaging in some movement before moving the body into a restorative pose helps to warm up the body and also releases nervous-tension and restlessness which prepares you to hold the restorative postures. Keep some blankets, towels, pillows and cushions within reach to maximize your comfort as you practice to allow for relaxation. Move slowly, even incrementally into the postures taking the time to make adjustments in the body and with the props and making any modifications you need.
Some benefits of a Restorative practice
The body is completely supported and this paves the way for total relaxation which allows for slow, deep breathing and lowers the heart rate and blood pressure.
Attention to the the spine and joints helps to keeps these areas lubricated and healthy, maintaining their natural range of motion.
The long holds help to improve focus, concentration and body awareness.
The slow and intentional movements stimulate and compress the organs flushing fluids and blood through the body, removing waste products from the Lymphatic system and promoting a healthy Immune system.
Relaxing Restorative postures to practice
Reclined cobblers orbutterfly pose, with the legs, back and shoulders supported.
Supported forward fold (posterior stretch), with blankets laying over the legs to support the upper body as you fold over the legs.
Supported child’s pose with support under the head, the feet and or the hips.
Legs up on the wall or resting on a chair pose.
Supported bridge pose with a block or bolster under the sacrum.
Restorative yoga can be an amazing experience if you open your mind and heart to the benefits of this deeply relaxing practice. Look for more session ideas and information on Restorative yoga in the posts to come.
Ashley Freeman is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Certified in Raja Yoga, her experience includes private in-home lessons, workplace wellness programs, and group instruction teaching various class formats and yoga styles. Find her on Google+