Sometimes Restorative Yoga is just the thing. Most of us live very busy lives. Our to-do lists are ever growing and we often have to run from one place to the next. Sometimes we even find ourselves running to get to our next yoga class!
Restorative Yoga aims to give us time to relax and renew our energies. You needn’t spend hours relaxing in Restorative poses to gain a benefit—although it might be nice to gift yourself a long, luxurious Restorative session once in a while. Practicing just one pose each day can calm our nervous systems and allow us to meet our responsibilities more gracefully.
Supta Baddha Konasana is a favorite Restorative pose among my students. In addition to its general calming effects, it can relieve gastrointestinal distress or menstrual cramps. Supta Baddha Konasana can quell agitation and restore your energies.
I’ve found that most yogis and yoginis love practicing Supta Baddha Konasana with the support of a slanted Yoga Bolster. The Yoga Bolster gives gentle support to your back while keeping your head above your heart, which can help you stay awake more easily. It’s okay if you fall asleep—sometimes that’s just what our bodies need. But staying conscious while we relax allows the pose to become a meditation.
How to Set Up
- Gather your props: a Standard Bolster, Yoga Block, Yoga Mat and Yoga Blanket.
- Place your block crosswise, either flat or on its side, near the “head” end of your mat. Place one end of your bolster on top of it so that the bolster sits at a slant with the head side of the bolster elevated.
- Sit in front of the end of the bolster that is on the floor with your buttocks barely touching the bolster.
- Fold your blanket in quarters so that it is about 36 to 40 inches wide. Any of our blankets will work: Mexican Yoga Blankets or Recycled Plaid Blankets. Fold your blanket in quarters. Set your blanket in front of you so that the wide side is closest to you (in computer vernacular, you’ll be looking at a “landscape” rather than “portrait” shape). Roll the blanket up so that you are making a long “snake,” 36 to 40 inches wide.
- Place the soles of your feet together in Baddha Konasana. Draw your heels in toward your groins any amount, making sure your knees feel comfortable. Let your knees fall out to the sides. Place the center of your “snake” on top of your feet and tuck its ends under your ankles and thighs so that it lifts and supports your legs. If the bend is too much for your knees, scoot your heels out a few inches, away from your groins. You can also try propping the knees a bit higher with folded blankets, in addition to your snake.
- Lie back on your bolster so that your whole torso is supported and your head is resting on the high end.
- Let your body settle completely into your blankets or bolster. Now inhale deeply into your abdomen, allowing it to expand fully in all directions. Imagine that your breath is massaging your abdominal organs. Exhale completely, so that you are releasing all the breath each time. Continue to breathe deeply for a minute or so, and then let your body relax into to natural breathing. You can stay in Supta Baddha Konasana for five to 20 minutes. The longer you stay, the more your body will settle into it, and the more deeply and completely your body will rest.