‘Tis the season to be joyous and merry, giving, sharing and in the company of family and dear friends…
‘Tis the season to put others before you and help those less fortunate…
‘Tis the season for a lengthy to-do list, busyness and stress…
This holiday season, remember yourself and how important you are with therapeutic yoga for stress relief.
Remember that a well-rested and de-stressed you is the perfect gift for those on your list. It’s okay to take care of yourself and make some quiet time to reconnect with your breath, especially during the rush of the holidays!
Open your heart, reset your system and gain clarity amongst the chaos with these two therapeutic yoga poses.
You don’t need yoga props to practice these poses! Simply use large blankets and pillows that you already have in your home. Take a look at the photos below that correspond with each pose, and find things around the house that you can use. Wear comfortable clothes and be sure to take your time to set up each pose properly, so you are comfortable and can relax to receive the maximum benefit.
1. SUPPORTED CHEST OPENER
- Tightly roll up a blanket or towels and lay the roll down on the earth, vertically. (Option: place another blanket horizontally across the top of the roll as a head support)
- Sit facing away from the roll with low back directly against the edge of the roll or a few inches away if you have low back issues or feel intense stretching when you lay back.
- Roll another blanket or use a pillow as a support behind the knees.
- Lay back, resting on the roll and adjust the optional blanket under the head. You should feel a slight stretch in the low back and shoulders when you lay back, but no sharp pain. Come out immediately and adjust if you’re feeling pain; try a lower or softer roll.
- Rest the arms, palms up, by the torso or further away from the torso for a more intense stretch in the shoulders and chest.
- Close the eyes and breathe deep into belly, ribs and chest, opening the heart and clearing the mind. Breathe 10-20 minutes.
- Bend the legs and roll off the support to one side to release the pose.
2. SUPPORTED INVERSION
- Stack blankets or pillows on top of one another.
- Sit close to and facing the support and slowly, one leg at a time, drape the legs up over it.
- Lay flat on the back with no support under the neck. (If you have any neck issues and need a little support, make a very small roll with a blanket to use under the cervical spine – do not use a big or bulky pillow. If the neck is elevated too high, it may create more tension or pulling).
- With hands on belly or arms by the sides, turn your palms up for more of an opening in the chest. You can also bring the arms out to a “T”, bringing wrists and shoulders in a line. For an increased stretch in the shoulders, draw the arms overhead and rest them on the earth with straight or bent elbows.
- Close the eyes and breathe slowly. Imagine you can inhale through the crown of the head all the way down to the toes, filling up the entire physical body with breath. Exhale from the toes out the crown of the head and allow any remaining tension in the body or mind to gently and effortlessly flow down and out into Mother Earth. Breathe 10-20 minutes.
- Hug the knees into the chest and roll to your most comfortable side to release the pose.