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Before I had a serious yoga practice, when I had a bad day I’d come home, eat something unhealthy like macaroni and cheese, drink a glass of wine, and watch (or read) a mindless romantic comedy. A couple hours of indulging helped me forget my problems for a short while, but when it was all over, I felt like I had a brick sitting in my belly and was as anxious as ever. Even worse, the next day I’d feel sluggish and tired so I was setting myself up for another bad day. After a while it became an unhealthy pattern. Don’t get me wrong, a night of indulgences every once in a while can be a good thing—but it becomes a problem when you’re spending more time escaping life than living it.
When I was in this particular funk, I knew something had to change. I made the commitment to attend a weekly yoga class on Tuesday evenings—even if work was piled up on my desk and my coworkers raised their eyebrows when they saw me packing up to leave a few minutes early. I started replacing comfort foods with comfort poses. Indulging in yoga felt like pampering myself, too, and it offered a healthy way to get out of my head.
The following poses are like a warm hug, a puppy cuddled up in my lap, or a friend bringing over a batch of homemade soup when I have a cold. Grab a bolster and a couple blankets and snuggle up!
Child’s Pose Admit it. Nothing feels better in the middle than a hot, sweaty, challenging class than that moment when you let yourself take a quick break and melt into the floor in Child’s Pose. In that moment, you give yourself permission to take care of yourself and you empower yourself to listen to your intuition and honor your body.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose) It’s an inversion. It’s a restorative pose. You can do it over a bolster or cuddled up with a blanket. For me, this is my go-to pose when I’m stressed out or over stimulated because I know that just five minutes here will shift my entire day.
Downward-Facing Dog I’ve never been to a yoga class that didn’t incorporate Down Dog in some way. Because I’ve practiced it so much, it’s comfy and cozy every time—like that that perfectly worn pair of jeans that feel so good every time you slip them on. For maximum relief, I rest my forehead on a bolster or block.
Shoulderstand Just one minute practicing the “queen” of yoga poses makes me feel like royalty.
Savasana Remember the first time a teacher gave you an adjustment in Savasana? For me, the first time was so strange because I wasn’t expecting it. Since then, every time I hear footsteps coming near me during Savasana I think, “Oooh, maybe it’s my lucky day!” The feeling of someone else taking care of me is part of the reason this pose is so healing for me. Well, that, and the fact that it’s a time to just rest, breathe, and absorb the effects of the practice. You can’t go wrong with that.