Posted: 20th January 2015
Follow WiRE Member Carol Trevor’s guide to re-energising in 5 minutes yogacarol.co.uk
If life ever becomes particularly hectic and I’m in need of some quick, effective rest and rejuvenation there are two yoga poses I immediately turn to. They are both restorative (fully supported) yoga poses. Anyone can do them and at any time of day. No special experience or ability is required. In just a few minutes you’ll feel calm, centred and gently re-energised.
You can do just one or both.
The first gives new meaning to the phrase ‘putting one’s feet up’.
1. Legs-up-the-wall pose (viparita karani)
Start by sitting sideways to the wall. Lean backwards and simultaneously turn so that your legs can rest against the wall. Give yourself a little distance from the wall if the backs of your legs feel tight. The knees are soft, not ‘locked’ straight. Place a pillow or blanket under your head and in the nape of your neck if you wish. Stay here for 5-7 minutes. Reverse your entry to exit from the pose, very slowly.
This is my personal favourite. Fatigue in the legs and feet seems to melt away. The shoulders immediately relax and unwind. Dropping the weight of the head into the ground allows thoughts to slow and quieten down. The chest and abdomen feel spacious and open. Breathing becomes an effortless, natural pleasure. Bliss in its simplest form.
The second provides an easy entry into the art of relaxation.
2. Basic relaxation pose (savasana)
If you don’t have a bolster, just use a rolled up blanket or duvet etc. under your knees, setting the level of support to what is most comfortable for your lower back. You can rest your hands on your belly if you prefer. 7 minutes here would be great, or up to 20 if you have the time! To exit, bend your knees into your chest, roll to one side and very slowly come to sitting.
If it’s hard for your mind to switch off, perhaps try playing some gentle music, or focusing your mind on observing your natural breathing, either at the tip of your nose (cool on the inbreath and warmer on the outbreath) or in your lower belly (subtle rising on the inbreath, lowering on the outbreath). You may fall asleep, and that’s fine if so – you need to!
These are incredibly simple yet powerful poses. When they are incorporated into daily life i.e. not only used in times of exhaustion or high stress, our energy levels, mental clarity and sense of wellbeing remain naturally buoyant.
If you’d like to know more about how restorative yoga works, in terms of nurturing our internal balance and awareness by calming our nervous system, please read my two guest articles here and here. These also shed some light on how this yoga practice naturally takes us towards meditation.
Please note: an alternative to these poses would be given for pregnancy.
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