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THE BEST Restorative Yoga Poses to relieve stress
Say goodbye to tension and stress with these tried and true restorative poses. Hold each pose for 2-3 minutes (approximately 20-30 breaths), or as long as is comfortable.
CHILD'S POSE BALASANA
Create a support of firm pillows, blankets, or a bolster lengthwise in front of you. Lower onto your knees, placing them on either side of the support, toes together.
Fold your upper body over the length of the support. Rest your forearms on the floor along the support, and turn to one side (or rest the forehead on the support -- whatever is most comfortable).
Let gravity pull the legs toward the earth as you soften the lower back, and release the tailbone toward the heels. Halfway through, turn your head to the other side as the body continues to settle into the pose.
HALF-PIGEON EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA
Start on all fours and slide the right knee forward toward the right hand. Lower your right hip onto a bolster, pillow, or folded blanket as you extend the left leg back, toes pointed.
Remain upright using your hands to support you, or lower lower down to the forearms, completely forward toward the earth. Breath into the pose as you feel the right shin inch closer to the mat.
Carefully come up to down dog, and lower onto the left hip to repeat on the other side.
SUPPORTED BRIDGE POSE SETU BANDHA SARVANGAZANA
Lie on your back with the knees bent, feet planted flat on the floor, hip-distance apart. Extend the arms by your side and roll the shoulder blades in toward one another to feel a slight lift in the chest.
Carefully lift the hips off the ground and slide the yoga block directly under the sacrum, the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine. (Note: Always come into bridge pose before you place the block under your sacrum; don't try to lie down on the block.)
As you rest here, arms can remain down by your sides, stretched overhead, or straight out in a T. Beginners can keep the block at its lowest height, and go higher as ready.
To come out, press down into your feet and lift the hips. Remove the block and gently lower back to the floor.
RECLINING BOUND ANGLE POSE SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA A.K.A. GODDESS POSE
Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together, knees pointing outward, and slide the heels as close to the groin as is comfortable.
Place the arms at 45 degree angles to your torso with the palms facing up, or place one hand on the low belly and one your chest to help focus on the breath.
With each exhalation, let the knees flat toward the ground, creating a stretch across the inner thighs and groin. If the stretch is too deep, place additional blankets or cushions beneath the knees for support.
To exit, gently roll to your right side with the knees drawn to your heart, and gradually prop yourself up to sitting.
LEGS-UP-THE-WALL POSE VIPARITA KARANI
To perform this passive inversion, start seated on the floor with your right shoulder, hip and thigh against a wall. Keep bolster within reach, and exhale as you lower your back while swinging your legs up onto the wall.
Press the soles of your feet into the wall, lift your hips, and slide the bolster underneath them. Extend the arms out to the sides or in cactus (upper arms perpendicular to the torso, elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing up). Place a small roll (made from a towel, for example) under your neck if extra support is needed. Rest passively in this pose for 2-minutes.
When ready, press the soles against the wall and lift the hips to slide the bolster out from under you. Gently lower the pelvis to the floor, roll to the right side, and use the hand to press yourself back up to sitting.
CORPSE POSE SAVASANA
Seated on the floor with the legs slightly bent, slide a bolster beneath the knees and slowly lower the back, neck, then head onto the floor.
Let the arms rest comfortably by your sides, palms facing the sky. Close the eyes, become aware of your natural breath, and let go. Rest in this pose for anywhere from 2-15 minutes.
When ready, roll onto your right side, take 2-3 breaths, and gently press your hands into the ground to lift you back to sitting.