In 1985, an insightful fourth grader named Sean Moeller suggested came up with a novel idea: a day where you do “nothing of real value.” That day is August 15th, and its official designation is National Relaxation Day.
You may not be able to get away with lazing around all day long today, but perhaps you can set aside some time to relax. What relaxes any individual is … well … individual. Here are some of the more common ways to destress:
- Read a book
- Take a stroll—not a fast-paced hike—in nature
- Picnic in a park
- Play a game
- Go to a movie
- Listen to music
- Get a massage
- Go to a spa
- Have lunch with a friend
- Have a quiet cup of tea
- Practice restorative yoga
You get the idea. What’s important is to choose one or more of these—or your own faves—to help you switch gears, slow down and regenerate your energy.
Take a Restorative Yoga Break for National Relaxation Day
Since we at Hugger Mugger are big fans of our yoga bolsters, here’s a suggestion for a 10- to 15-minute restorative yoga break to help you celebrate National Relaxation Day. I especially like Supported Supta Baddhakonasana (see above photo) because it is neither a backbend nor a forward bend. It has a neutral effect on your spine. In 32 years of teaching, I’ve never known anyone to find this the least bit uncomfortable. In fact, it’s my students’ most often requested restorative pose.
- Gather your props: a Standard Bolster, Yoga Blocks, Yoga Mat, a Yoga Strap and Yoga Blankets.
- 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.
- Make a wide loop in your strap. With the buckle in front of you, take the loop overhead and place it so that the back part of the loop is around your pelvis, not your waist. Loop the strap over your ankles and under your feet. Then pull the strap a little tighter so that your feet are 6-12 inches or more from your pubic bones. Place blocks under your thighs. If all this seems confusing, look at the photo!
- If you have extra blankets or throw pillows, place them on either side of your torso to give extra support to your forearms.
- Lie back on your bolster so that your whole torso is supported and your head is resting on the high end. If you have an eye pillow, place it over your eyes.
- 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 Baddhakonasa 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.