Restoration and Rejuvenation

Linda has provided us with 2 beneficial and easily accessible poses to refresh, reflect and contribute to our over all daily wellness. Grab a towel, some books or cartons of chicken stock and an eye pillow and follow these easy guidelines to rejuvenation and relaxation. Use these poses to surrender and receive, be it solace or energy and you’ll get something.

Childs Pose (Balasana)

In times of trouble don’t we all have an inclination to be scooped up and rescued? It’s almost a return to the need of being comforted and protected from harm. Hence, my choice of Child’s Pose – Balasana in Sanskrit, as an easily obtainable posture; both nurturing and self loving.

The pose essentially turns you inwards allowing for physical and mental distance from the raging tempest thereby finding a little solace from the storm. Add to that comfort, the delicious release for the lower back and hips where we store and stockpile so much tension, it is the chicken soup of home healing. As a pose that knows no time limits or restrictions, it’s the family member that everyone loves.

A wonderful pose for relieving lower back and outer hip tension.

Be sure to press the tops of feet into the mat and shrug shins outwards so the chest can snuggle down deep between the thighs.

Hands can be extended forward to encourage the side body to stretch but if this causes a hiking of the shoulders and cinching at the neck take the arms down along the outer legs towards the feet and let them rest heavily there, palms up so the shoulders are persuaded to drop and draw away from the head. Use hands to press the hips as far back as possible and make sure that the forehead is resting on the floor and the neck is soft, head heavy.

If the forehead doesn’t reach the floor place a couple of books or a litre of liquid stock under the forehead raising the level of the floor to the head as it were. Be sure the place of rest is between and slightly above the eyebrows. Once you’re set up, try to breathe through the nostrils, keeping your lips gently closed and the tongue on the roof of the mouth.

Be sure that tension doesn’t build at the jaw and the biting surfaces of the teeth aren’t jammed together.

Breathe in and out through the nose. Eyes closed.

Modifications:

  1. Tight hips or lower back? Place a rolled up towel or pillow under the thighs effectively providing a cushion on which the hips can settle.
  2. Want to engage the arms a bit more? Use books or cartons of stock under the palms so the wrists release (see picture) and the upper arms stay elevated. Feel the sensation of the shoulders moving gently apart and back down towards the tailbone.
  3. Desire a bit more intensity? Gently pull down and back against the cartons to slip the shoulders away from the ears, down the spine towards the hips, as though there was a block between the upper arms gentle squeeze inwards so that the triceps roll externally and the flat part of the elbow faces the opposite hand.

Stay as long as you’re able in Balasana Pose. Before lifting your head, blink the eyes gently open, take a large breath in through the nose, letting it go through the mouth and roll up to sitting on your heels one vertebrae after another.

Supported Backbend (SetuBandha)

In contrast to the enveloping child’s pose, the supported backbend (known as SetuBandha in Sanskrit) allows the heart to open and lift, energizing the body and creating just enough stimulation to face what comes next.

Seldom suggested in the evening because of the stimulating effects of any backbend, its’ a helpful pose to shift a mid- day slump, or better yet pre-morning joe so that one kickstarts the day from a high point mentally and physically.

Supported backbend:

Take a large bath towel and roll it tightly.

Bend knees and place soles of feet together so that the heels are in line with the tailbone and about 2 feet away from the pelvis on the mat.

Take the books or cartons and prop them under the outer legs, depending on comfort at outer knee, outer hip or outer thigh and let the legs rest heavily on the cartons so that the inner groins can release and lengthen without taking any strain. Lie back placing the rolled towel so that the rolled towel comes just to the armpits landing right at the middle back. If the roll is just under the armpits the arms can splay out either side using as much or as little room as desired.

Once back, feel the lift of your chest and try not to accentuate or exaggerate the arch; let your roll do the lifting and allow your chest to open.

Let everything resting on the mat be heavy, especially the head and pelvis. Visualize your chest rising and falling as the breath enters and leaves.

Modifications:

More intensity in the backbend? Use a rolling pin and roll the towel around it so that there is a firmer support increasing the arch of the upper back.

Added relaxation and rejuvenation: Just as a roll under the shoulder tips opens and elevates the heart, a covering over the eyes provides just enough weight to enhance that feeling of staying put both mentally and physically.

More release through the lower back?:

Place the rolled towel lower on your back before lying down to a resting position.

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