6 Restorative Yoga Poses That Will Make You Feel Amazing
When was the last time you truly relaxed and allowed your body and mind to take a break from the constant e-mailing, texting, and nonstop working and worrying that sucks up most of our days? While it's ridiculously hard to put down your smartphone and tune out distractions, carving out just a few minutes a day for deep relaxation with restorative yoga can do wonders for your health.
"If you have chronic fatigue, stress, illness, or immune system imbalances, try adding restorative or gentle yoga poses to your routine," says Jillian Pransky, director of therapeutic restorative teacher training for Yoga Works. "It helps kick in the relaxation response, balancing the nervous system and optimizing energy flow to the organs. This level of relaxation is known to lift immune function, enhance the process of digestion, and set the whole body up for deep healing, growth, and repair. It also helps you release habitual tension, making you more comfortable and at ease in your body."
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So grab a few pillows, towels, or blankets—or if you have them, a few yoga bolsters—and get ready to unwind with these simple restorative postures that melt away stress, ease tension, and, when done regularly, could even help you lose a little belly fat. (Sculpt a strong, sexy core withPrevention'sFlat Belly YogaDVD!)
Supported Child's Pose
Sit on your heels and spread your knees about hip-width apart or slightly wider, with your big toes touching. Place a bolster or a stack of pillows or folded blankets in front of you (high enough and firm enough to support you). Lean forward and rest your torso on the padding, turning head to one side and draping arms over sides. Close your eyes and completely relax. Rest here for 5 minutes. (Try this 10-minute gentle yoga routine that can help you lose weight.)
Supported Reclining Bound Angle
Stack pillows or folded blankets/towels to make a rectangular stack about a foot high. Sit in front of the stack with your hips on the floor, then lay your rib cage and head back on the stack. Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides. Grab a pillow or a stack of blankets/towels and wedge them under your thighs to allow your legs to relax there. Use as many props as you need to make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes and relax here for 5 minutes.
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Supported Side-Lying Savasana
You'll need quite a few blankets, pillows, or bolsters for this one, but it's totally worth the set-up involved. Start by lying on whichever side feels more comfortable, with a bolster, pillow, or a folded blanket underneath your head. Place a bolster or pillow (that is about the height of your top hip) lengthwise in front of your torso. Bend your top leg and place your knee and shin on top of the cushion. Keep your hips square. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, allowing yourself to relax. Stay here for 5 minutes.
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Supported Pigeon Pose
This pose is salve for cranky, tight hips. Start by building up support across the front of your pelvis using a bolster, folded towels, or blankets. Place your right knee, hip, and shin on the bolster and extend your left leg behind you. Make sure your pelvis is evenly supported on both sides, then hinge torso forward at your hips. Additional padding under your forehead or chest will help you soften your neck and shoulders. Breathe deeply, relaxing here for 5 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
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Supported Heart Opener
Create support using a bolster or folded towels/blankets along the length of your spine. Allow your torso to rest on the padding. You can extend your legs as shown, or bring your feet flat on the floor and allow your knees to fall together, keeping feet hip-width apart. You can rest one hand on your heart, the other hand on your belly, or allow your arms to fall out to the sides with your palms facing up. Breathe deeply, allowing yourself to relax as your chest opens. Rest here for 5 minutes.
Supported Shoulder Stretch
Lie on your stomach and place a bolster or a rolled towel under your lower ribs. Take your right arm over your left and reach the arms away from each other with your palms facing up. Make sure you have a big enough towel roll or bolster to take the weight off your shoulders so you can relax here. If this is too intense, add another towel. Relax here and hold for 1 minute. First, cross left arm over right arm, then repeat with right arm over left.
Video: Day 8 - Yoga For Healing & Meditation - 30 Days of Yoga
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