Restorative poses that can help you relax

By Delna Anand

Published: Thu 16 Apr 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Apr 2020, 9:13 PM

Restorative poses to help release emotional blocks
This is easily the most unsettling time that humanity has collectively faced. The pandemic is not just of the rapidly spreading virus, but also of fear and panic. Yes, there has been a lot of disruption and disturbance globally. We are constantly bombarded with news, facts, figures and statistics which are creating feelings of helplessness, fear, stress, anxiety and worry. Worry is a prayer for chaos. When we worry, we release stress hormones. Stress hormones shut down the immune system, and we become more susceptible to infections.
Therefore, it is in our best interest to keep our mental and physical energies protected and strengthened. As cliched as it may sound, it is the only way out of this situation.
Be mindful of the information you are consuming. You don't need to know every statistic of 'new cases of Covid-19' and the like.
Spend a few minutes every day, in stretching your body, and taking deep breaths.
If you have any trouble getting a sound sleep, try wrapping up your day with some gentle restorative poses. Spare a few moments for long and slow breaths, and hold each pose for about 4-5 breaths (or whatever is comfortable for you).
Start by sitting in a comfortable position. Bring your awareness to your breath. Inhale for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. Repeat 3-4 times ?
Child's Pose
Kneel down, sit on your glutes, knees together, your big toes touching each other. Lower your forehead to the mat and gently stretch your arms in front of you. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Visualize exhaling stress, anxiety, fear, overwhelm. Slowly lift yourself to come up all fours into a table-top position.
Low lunge with Heart Opener
?From table-top position, step your right foot forward between your hands, ensuring that the right knee is stacked over the right ankle. Curl the left toes under and walk the left knee back a bit until you come into a low lunge position. 
Inhale and straighten through the torso, while interlacing the fingers behind your back. Exhale, and gently pull the fingers back and down, to open the chest. You're your shoulders relaxed.
Allow the stretch to gently open the heart. As your heart is stimulated, envelope yourself in love, and allow love to wash away your fearful thoughts. Fear and worry slowly kills the immune system. A little bit of attention towards keeping these heavy emotions at bay, will go a long way.
Hold the position, and on exhale, release, and lower the hands to frame the front foot.
Return the right foot back to a kneeling position. Then, step the left foot between the hands, and repeat on the other side.
Wide-legged Forward Bend ?
Come to standing position. Step your feet out wide, pointing both feet straight forward. Inhale, and extend the arms out and up. Exhale and press the hips back, hinging at the pelvis, extending the torso forward and down into a wide-legged forward bend.?You may drop your hands to the mat and allow your torso to gently suspend itself. ?Stay inverted for as long as you feel comfortable, inversions are very calming for the nervous system, and they make space for peace and calm inside your heart. Release all your blocked emotions, let every bit of them flow out. Then gently out of the pose, press your feet firmly on the ground, bend your knees slightly and roll up one vertebra at a time. ?
Reclined twist?
Lie flat on your back, hug your knees.
Stretch your arms at shoulder level, palms facing up. Exhale and place your feet on the mat as close to your body as you can. Drop both knees on the right, keep both shoulders firm on the ground. Stay there and take about 3-4 slow breaths in and out. Come to centre and repeat on the left side.
This pose will allow you to release any tension from the spine, while easing your mind and body into relaxation, in preparation for our last pose.
Legs up the wall
Finish the sequence with Viparit Karni, as you allow blood to flow in the opposite direction, calming your nervous system.
Start by sitting with your one side touching a wall. Then slide your torso down and lift your legs up against the wall so that your sit bones are touching the wall and your legs and torso are at 90 degrees. Arms by your side, palms facing up. Breathe slowly.
If the position is not comfortable, you may move away from the wall and place your legs at a lower height like the seat of a chair.

Go through each pose with the intention of allowing your body and mind to cleanse itself os unnecessary negative emotions. After a whole day of consuming all kinds of information, allow yourself a few moments to shake that stagnant energy. Allow your body to enjoy a good night's rest so that it can heal and restore itself.

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