Restore by Release

Take ten minutes tonight and try one or two of these poses. All are restorative, meaning you support yourself in a position facilitating physical release and you surrender to the pose over time, usually about five minutes. Prepare your surroundings with candles, music, scent. Use a folded hand towel for an eye pillow. Focus on your breath. Begin by allowing the belly to expand in every direction, opening the abdomen to allow room for your organs as your diaphragm pulls downward. After a few minutes of focusing on your belly, imagine your breath beginning just in front of your sacrum, inhaling the breath rises along a channel in front of your spine until it swirls in your head. Exhale, the breath flows down the same channel, exiting in front of your sacrum.

Supported Balasana (Child’s Pose): sit with your feet folded under your buttocks, knees wide. With a bolster or blankets folded in front of you for support, hinge your torso forward and lie your belly and chest on the support, arms alongside. Turn your head to one side. Feel your body move as you breathe.

Supported Bridge: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor hip width apart. Raise your pelvis up, having support (bolster, stack of blankets, block) handy to place under your sacrum or pelvis. Allow your torso to slant gently toward your shoulders on the ground. Arms angle down from shoulders to hands open to the sky.

Setu Baddha Konasana (Bound angle pose): Sitting upright, perhaps with hips elevated on a blanket, place the soles of the feet together in cobbler or butterfly pose (this was a favorite of mine when I was a little girl… I remember doing it with my Mother). Arrange the bolster, blankets or pillows behind you so that you can recline your torso with your arms opening down from the shoulders, palms releasing upwards. If your knees are above the ground, support them with blocks or soft blankets.

Vitparita Karani (Legs up the wall): Place a bolster or a stack of three folded blankets 6-8 inches away from the wall. Sit on one end with a shoulder toward the wall, facing away from the stack. Place opposite hand on floor and rolling down to your back swing your legs up parallel to the wall. Your tailbone will sink into the space between the support and the wall. You may keep your legs up or open them out to a great “V” or place the soles of the feet together in cobbler or butterfly. Arms angle gently down, again, from the shoulders, hands realeasing toward the sky.

Finish in Savasana, or Corpse pose, on your back, legs apart, feet flopping out, arms out a bit to the side of the hips again, hands open to the sky, eyes closed. Keep returning to breath. Breathe. Breathe. Let breath breathe you. Namaste.

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2 thoughts on “Restore by Release

  1. “Prepare your surroundings with candles, music, scent”………

    Scent ????? ……
    Is it really ok to have scent…… I believe we need pure air during our practice…….
    Don’t mistake me for arguing 🙂

  2. Ok! So to clarify, I’m all for pure air, too, but I’m not sure that “pure” and “unscented” have identical extension. Air has radically different compositions given altitude, geography, proximity to all kinds of things. I advocate that yogis give thought to every sense and aspect of our experience and thoughtfully balance observation and creativity. So, if you prefer not to have smells operate on your consciousness, perhaps you run an air purifier during your practice, and if your intuition draws you a scent and you are in your own practice space and can safely experiment I think it’s possible to learn and nurture ourselves by responding to these deep urges. And any given person may have different needs, feelings, intuitions on different days, and that’s part of how our home practice nurtures us: as a laboratory for gently creating and observing small changes and so clearing our own waters and becoming more transparent and gentle and solid.

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