Restorative Yoga helps guide us into deep relaxation, which is a great way to gently prepare for a good night’s sleep. I think we can all agree that after an evening restorative class, one of the biggest challenges can be traveling the distance from our yoga mats to our beds! Until we iron out the science behind teleportation, a home Restorative Yoga practice might be the perfect solution. Jenny Clise, a New York City-based yoga teacher, guides you through a sequence she designed to soothe your nervous system, increase flexibility, and calm your mind after a full day.
Balasana (Child's Pose)
Start by sitting on your heels with a long pillow out in front of you. Bring your big toes to touch and separate your knees wider than your hips. If you feel any pressure in your knees, try straddling a pillow underneath your seat (as shown). Draw the long pillow in toward your pelvis and begin to fold forward, resting your torso on the pillow. You can stack multiple pillows underneath you until you feel like you can relax your muscles completely. Your gaze can fall to either side. Be sure to switch the direction of your neck halfway through the duration of the pose. Take deep inhalations and exhalations to slow down your heart rate and soften through all the muscles in your body. Breathe horizontally across your back and chest, creating space in the intercostals (the muscles between your ribs). Release through your face and jaw. Hold for 5-10 minutes.
Benefits: This modified version of Balasana (Child's Pose) gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs and ankles while softening muscles along the front line of your body. It also aids in digestion (a key component of your parasympathetic nervous system, or "rest and digest" response).
See also Find Comfort in Child's Pose
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