After the holidays everyone feels those winter blues. From the time change, to the sun setting earlier than normal, to being around family (we love) but can be a little hectic at times. It’s almost like we have to play catch up with a daily routine and getting back into the groove of things. We’ve spent countless hours making sure we had the right gifts for everyone, perfect meal or side prepared and the house was spotless. This all involved taking time out of our already busy schedules to go out and deal with traffic, crowds, and sometimes impatient people. That can take a heavy toll on the mind and body. The holidays can be such a joyous time but the work leading up to it can be exhausting.
A perfect way to get balance back into your daily life is Restorative Yoga. Restorative yoga is the centering of your breath and body – aligning the physical and mental by practicing stillness or gentle movement for extended periods of time. This practice of yoga is not quite the same as your normal yoga class. Most contemporary yoga is an active practice in which you move from pose to pose, building heat and increasing your strength and flexibility. Restorative yoga is a relaxing practice of stretching and breathing that incorporates props (blankets and pillows!!) and a technique of breathing that helps hold your stretch and allows your body to move deeper into the movement. Two of my favorite restorative poses are listed below.
v Seated forward bend/Paschimottanasana
You can use a blanket or pillow under your sit bones to make the practice a little easier and comfortable.
· Bring your arms straight out to the sides and up over your head, reaching toward the ceiling.
· Inhale and draw your spine up long.
· As you exhale, begin to come forward and tipping the hips.
· On each inhale, extend your spine, and on each exhale come a bit farther down into the forward bend.
· Keep the neck as the natural extension of your spine, neither cranking it to look up nor letting it go completely down.
· Do not round the spine
· Take hold of your ankles or shins, whichever you can reach. You can also use a strap around your feet.
v Child’s Pose/Balasana
Use pillows and blankets for support with this practice.
· Create a support system with your pillows and blankets.
· Lower onto your knees, placing them on either side of the support, keeping your toes together.
· Fold your upper body over the support, resting your forearms on the floor along the support.
· Turn the head to one side or rest the forehead on the support (whichever is most comfortable.
Remember that these poses are gentle, allow gravity to pull you towards the earth as you soften and settle into each pose. Hold each pose for 2-3 minutes (approximately 20-30 deep breaths) or however long it is comfortable.
by: Kelly Maloney