Yoga postures for relaxing and restoring energy

Following on from part one of my Yoga for the Autumn and Winter (part 1) blog, as promised here are a few yoga postures and stretches that you can use in times of need!   The suggestion of these exercises assumes that you are in good health and physically fit. 

 

Swaying palm pose:  an energising stretch that helps to balance right and left postural muscles.

Stand with feet parallel and shoulder distance apart.  Interlace your fingers together and push the palms away.  Inhale and raise your palms up towards the ceiling.  Exhale bend to your right from the waist.  Inhale back to centre.  Exhale bend from the waist to your left.  Repeat 5-10 times then from the centre, exhale to lower your arms.

          Ensure you do not bend forwards or backwards or twist your spine

          Keep both feet firmly grounded throughout.

 

Cobra pose:   a back bending posture for energy.  Strengthening the muscles of the back and toning of the lower abdominal organs are just a few of the benefits.  Follow this with a forward bend such as Childs pose.

Lie on your front with your feet together, soles facing up.  Place your palms on the floor with your thumbs at mid-chest height and outer edge of hand a little wider than your shoulders.  Elbows tucked into ribcage and shoulder blades sliding down your back.  Rest your forehead on the floor and relax your whole body.  As you inhale, use your back muscles to slowly raise your head, shoulders and chest from the floor as high as possible, hold for a moment, then exhale slowly return to the starting position.  Repeat 5 times.  You may choose to hold the posture and breathe there.

          Advanced variation of this pose, which will increase the massaging effect on the organs is to begin straightening your arms to deepen the backbend once you have lifted as high as you can using just your back muscles.

 

Childs pose (Balasana):  a restorative forward bending pose that quietens the mind and provides a gentle stretch for the muscles of the back.

Kneel on the floor on a yoga mat or towel with the tops of your feet on the floor and knees hip distance apart.  Fold forward to rest your forehead on the floor and rest your arms by your sides with your palms turned upwards. Completely relax your shoulders and allow the tops of your arms to drop towards the floor.  Ensure that the back of your neck is long.  Breathe deeply into your back ribs, feeling them rise and fall with each breath.  Stay for a few minutes or more.

  •         If the forehead does not touch the floor you can rest it on a yoga block or folded blanket.
  •         If you have trouble sitting on your heels, place a folded blanket between your thighs and calves. 
  •        Do not attempt this pose if you are pregnant or have a knee injury.

 

Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani): a restorative version of supported shoulder stand, this pose reduces stress and fatigue and is also excellent for relieving aching, tired or swollen legs.  A great one to do after your Christmas shopping!

This pose can be practiced with or without support.  Using a support will allow more opening for the front of your body, refreshing the heart and lungs. The support can be a bolster as shown here, or a small stack of folded blankets or towels.  You also need a clear wall space.

If using support for the pelvis, place it about 6 inches from the wall if you have stiff hamstrings, or closer if you are flexible.  Sit on the support sideways to the wall and simultaneously swing your legs up the wall and, using your arms for support, lower your upper body to the floor.  It may take a few attempts to get this right the first time you try it.  The back of your pelvis should be resting on the support with your sitting bones just off the edge nearest to the wall and your shoulder blades should be on the floor.  Your front torso will gently arch and the back of your neck should be long.  Breathe deeply into your abdomen.  Stay for 5 to 15 minutes.  To come out – do not twist through your torso – bend your knees and push your feet into the wall to lift your pelvis, remove the support, then roll to one side and push your hands into the floor to come up.

  •          If the back of your neck is flattening, try placing a rolled up towel near the base of your neck to restore the natural curve.

 

 If in any doubt of the suitability of these exercises, please consult a qualified yoga teacher or your healthcare practitioner.

Written by Ginny Haswell 

Check out our Yoga Class Schedule to find a class convenient for you.

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