by Leeann Carey | June 28, 2015 6:35 pm
Owning a yoga studio for almost 20 years was the most challenging and rewarding time of my life. Some of my fondest memories are of sitting with students after class while sipping tea and chatting. We talked about the importance of a yoga practice, the benefits we were reaping and how we landed on yoga’s doorstep. I remember one discussion when I was asked if I practiced on my own or with a teacher. My answer: Both. When they asked how I found time to practice at home on top of being a mother, wife and small business owner, my answer shocked everyone: Sometimes I only practice a few poses. Blank stares.
Make Time No Matter What. Although it may sound plausible that we don’t have enough time to practice at home, it’s not a valid excuse. We are the ones in charge of how we choose to spend our time. It starts with us.
With three small children at home, my husband and I had our hands full with growing a family and a business. But, what I knew for sure was that I did have time to practice at least a few poses. And for many of us doing so is a matter of setting aside the time no matter what. Taking the first bite into our practice brings us that much closer to taking another. Practice doesn’t always make us perfect, but it sure does inspire more practice. And as Pattabhi Jois so smartly said, “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.” Refresh Yourself with These At-Home Restorative Yoga Poses.
I love restorative yoga, so when I know I can’t carve out enough time for a long practice, I practice three restorative poses.
Start by practicing the one you love the most. It’s kind of like eating your favorite food; after the first bite you feel compelled to take another. So, start with what you enjoy — the one that brings a sigh of “aahh” when you get into it. Undoubtedly, that pose will beget another and so on. But just in case you need a little more help, here are three restorative yoga poses that can be practiced in as few as 20 minutes depending on the time you have available.
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Backbends are so important for keeping the spine supple. Many of us spend so much time with forward shoulders, sunken chests and rounded mid-backs. As a result, our back, shoulders and neck become stiff and rigid. This is the go-to pose that helps to reverse those effects. Backbends open the chest, thereby widening the diaphragmatic band just underneath the chest. This promotes better access to the breath and is a good pose to practice simple breathing techniques that can settle the mind and support a meditative experience used to cope with stress.
Parivrtta Pavanmuktasana (Revolved Knee Squeeze Pose)
Many of us spend most of our time during the day bent over and rarely get the chance to safely rotate our spine. Twists are a great way to unwind tension built throughout the day while opening the shoulders, chest and hips. There are prone twists and supine twists. The prone twists are a bit quieter on the nervous system than the prone ones. Although I like twists of all kinds, the prone twists by nature are ones you can really melt into. They require less rotation of the spine than the supine ones and when well supported, feel absolutely divine. People have been known to drool on their bolster. It’s true!
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)
This pose can be practiced with or without support underneath the pelvis. Either way, I recommend practicing it every day — I do! Think of the saying, “take a load off your feet”. That’s exactly what this pose does. It turns the body’s typical standing or sitting position upside down and draws the fluids from the legs into the lower abdomen. This is a perfect panacea for those that spend long hours of sitting or standing, experience leg swelling, or suffer from an achy lower back. And it’s a great pose to practice after airplane travel. You’re guaranteed to feel refreshed and renewed afterward.
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