I recently had to opportunity to take a small vacation out to Seattle, WA where I was able to spend time with close friends and family while exploring a new city. After returning to “the real world,” friends and coworkers were eager to ask about the trip and a common question seemed to be, “what for?”. Turns out, there wasn’t much of a reason. To most I responded with a shoulder shrug accompanied by a “because” that sounded more like a question. I realized we often feel uncomfortable, or even guilty, for doing fun or relaxing things without any goal or purpose in mind. For me, the trip could not have come at a better time. I returned to work refocused, my workout regimen felt revitalized, and I had a new energy in teaching yoga.
With the holidays fast approaching, we are about to be catapulted into a season of go, go, go and give, give, give. You may be familiar with the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” As the coming months creep in, I challenge you to carve out some time for you. While you may not be able to squeeze in another vacation before the holidays, here are some great yoga poses for relaxation to help you get a little more R & R in your daily life!
Child’s Pose – Balasana
Come to kneeling on the floor with your feet close to one another. Lie forward over your thighs with your shins bent underneath. For a more energizing variation, separate the knees about 12 inches apart and arms extended in front of you. For a more restorative version, keep the knees together as you fold forward and rest your arms along your sides.
Legs Up The Wall – Viparita Karani
Sit down next to a wall and as you gentle come down to lying on the floor, spin your torso so that you are perpendicular with the wall and extend your legs upwards to rest against the wall. For added comfort, this pose can be performed on a bed or with a cushion under the sacrum. Additionally, this pose can be particularly restorative if the legs can be comfortably supported where two walls meet in a corner.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana
Lie down on your back and bring the soles of your feet to touch, allowing the knees to open wide. For extra support, tuck blankets or blocks beneath your knees and rest your head and upper back on a cushion or rolled blanket. The arms can rest on the ribs, allowing you to tune into the breath, or along your sides with palms facing up.
Seated Wide Angle Pose – Upavistha Konasana
Sitting on the floor, take your legs as wide as is comfortable to each side. Stack a pillow or two in front of you and between your legs. Fold forward so that you come to rest on the stacked pillows. Pillows add a relaxing, restorative touch to this asana without putting undue stress on the hamstrings and inner thighs. That said, if able to fold forward comfortably without jeopardizing mobility later on, the pillows can always be removed.