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This Restorative Yoga Class features yoga poses that work deep into the connective tissue where we store past trauma, negative emotions and hold onto the past. This is an all-levels class, so whether this is your first time doing yoga or you are a devout practitioner, this class caters to everyone.
It is always recommended to have a variety of yoga props nearby to assist you in your restorative yoga practice. I suggest to have a yoga strap, yoga blocks, wool blanket, yoga bolster or large pillows to give your body support in many of the restorative yoga poses presented in this podcast. If you do not have access to any of the yoga props recommended, I offer instructions to gain full expression of the yoga poses, without the aid of yoga props.
If you are a visual person and benefit from seeing images of the yoga poses in addition to the verbal cueing featured in the podcast episode, feel free to enjoy the visual journey of this episode. Cheers!
Utthita Supta Hasta Padangusthasana
Extended Supine Hand-to-Toe Pose
Pose Type: Hip Opener
Description: To enter this pose, bring yourself into a supine position, lying on your back. Fully extend your legs straight out on the yoga mat. For all but the most advanced practitioners, this pose is usually practiced with the assistance of a yoga strap. Start out by bringing the right knee to the chest so the yoga strap can be wrapped around the arch of the right foot. Then the right leg is extended straight up toward the ceiling or as high as you can comfortable raise the leg. As you deepen into the pose, the lifted leg can be drawn in closer to the body. Now, drop the right leg out to the right side of the body, opening up the hip. Be sure to keep a micro-bend in the right knee. If the right foot cannot reach the floor, ease up on the yoga strap to give it more slack until you find a happy medium where the right leg and foot can rest on the floor. If this is still not possible, you can always prop a yoga bolster or pillows under the right leg to bring the floor closer to you. In regard to further alignment cues, be sure to keep the left hip grounded. If you find the left hip lifting, ease up on the extension of the right leg. Your left arm should be extended out at a 45 degree angle from the left side of the body, palm face up. Close your eyes and breath deeply into the legs and hips.
Benefits: This pose promotes mental health by increasing awareness, calming the mind and developing patience. It also helps in treating conditions including indigestion, back pain, sciatic problems, high blood pressure and menstrual discomfort. Utthita Supta Hasta Padangusthasana stimulates the muladhara (root) chakra, helping one to stay connected. It is also associated with abundance, passion and family. This pose is also believed to activate the svadisthana (sacral) chakra, which protects the yogi against the fear of change while at the same time promoting emotional stability, joy, abundance and pleasure.
Pose Type: Hip Opener
Description: To enter the pose, begin in a tabletop position on the mat. Place a blanket or folded yoga mat under the knees to help provide cushion. Mindfully allow the knees to move out to the sides of the mat or wider, keeping the ankles and feet in-line with the knees. The forearms drop to the floor with the palms flat. Now, shift the hips slightly backward. Keep the neck neutral or allow the head to hand, creating a gentle stretch to the back of the neck. Close your eyes and focus your attention on breathing into the hips and low back.
Benefits: Mandukasana refers to one of several yoga asanas that resemble a frog. The term comes from the Sanskrit word manduka meaning “frog.” This asana is an intense hip-opener, stretching the inner thighs and groin, chest and shoulders. Mandukasana helps to relieve anxiety, stress and mild depression. Traditionally, mandukasana is believed to open the Svadisthana Sacral Chakra. Activating this chakra promotes focus, productivity and inner acceptance.
Cow Face Pose (bound)
Pose Type: Hip Opener
Description: Start out in a seated, cross legged position. First, cross your right leg over the top of your left leg so that your right knee is stacked on top of your left knee. Glance down to ensure your right foot is next to your left hip. I would like to pause here and offer options for those with limited flexibility or knee joint injuries. If stacking the knees in this posture is just not possible, remain in a seated, cross-legged position. In addition, anyone can benefit in this pose by sitting on a yoga block or folded blanket, which takes a bit of pressure off of the hips. Now, let’s add in the heart and chest opening stretch. Go ahead and reach your left arm up in the air and bend it at the elbow so it is now behind your back, with your hand resting in between your shoulder blades. Next, bend your right elbow toward the floor and reach your right hand back to see if you can clasp the fingers of your left and right hand together. If this just isn’t possible, use a towel or yoga strap to assist. Once you have settled into the pose, maintain a very straight spine. Bring your drishti inward, focusing on breathing into the tight places in your hips, legs and shoulders.
Benefits: Gomukhasana is a seated yoga posture that stretches several parts of the body simultaneously. The focus of this posture targets the ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, underarms, triceps and chest. Cow Face Pose helps increase the flexibility of the back, cures sciatica, and stimulates the kidneys. Practicing this asana helps to open the Sacral & Heart Chakra. These chakras are the centers of pleasure, enjoyment, love and compassion, which makes Gomukhasana a challenging but powerful pose.
Happy Baby Pose
Pose Type: Hip Opener
Description: From a supine position, lying on your back, bring the knees into the chest. Now, clasp the outer edges of your feet with your hands. Let your knees open to slightly wider than the hips. Your elbows will be placed on the inside edge of the knees and shins- while the hands clasp the outer edge of the foot. Go ahead and ensure that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, with your heels in alignment with the knees. Using little effort, the hands grip the outer edge of the flexed feet and push the knees down, coaxing the thighs in toward the torso, lengthening the spine, releasing the tail bone towards the earth. Extend the base of the skull away from the back of the neck. Allow your shoulders and head to relax, closing the eyes and bringing the dristi inward. If it is not easy to hold the feet with the hands, you can hold each foot with a yoga strap that’s looped around the arches of the feet. Some practitioners prefer to hook the big toes with the index and middle fingers of each hand. Also, if you have limited flexibility, it’s acceptable to hold the inside of the foot instead of the outside.
Benefits: Happy Baby pose increases vitality and releases neck strain and tightness. This pose helps lengthen and realign the spine as well as strengthens the arms and shoulders. Well known to relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue. Ananada Balasana opens both the hips and the chest, making this a great pose for the Root and Heart Chakra. Cautions for this pose include herniations to the cervical spine and all pregnant women should take caution performing this pose.
Threading the Needle Pose
Pose Type: Twist
Description: Begin in a prone position, kneeling on the yoga mat. For extra support, place a folded blanket under the knees. To enter the pose, start out in a table top position with knees under hips and hands under the shoulders. Next, the right arm is “threaded” under the body, extending out at shoulder height on the left side of the body, with the palm facing the ceiling. Rotate the upper body until your right shoulder & the right side of your head touches the ground. Keep your left palm planted on the floor under the left shoulder. Another option is to reach your left arm out above your body for balance and support. Advanced Yogi’s can also choose to take a half bind, by tucking the left arm behind the low back. Close your eyes and breathe into the twist.
Benefits: Parsva balasana is the perfect posture for anyone experiencing chronic stress and tension, particularly for those who hold tension in their upper body, neck and shoulder. It is thought that the twist through the spine helps to “wring out” negative energy, releasing both physical and mental tension, and preparing it for fresh nourishment. This is a good posture for learning how to balance effort and ease because the inhale lengthens the spine, while the exhale relaxes the body and deepens the twist. Threading the Needle Pose is also a good posture for balancing the Muladhara Root Chakra. When balanced, it can help the yogi feel more grounded and connected to the earth.
Pose Type: Forward Bend
Description: Begin in a seated position with both legs outstretched in front of you. Bend your left knee as you move the sole of your left foot against your right inner thigh. Before you begin to fold forward, first lengthen your spine and the crown of your head up towards the ceiling. With a straight spine, reach your arms up, maintaining alignment and now bow forward over the right leg. If possible, your forehead rests on your right knee or shin. For those of you with tight hamstrings, you may want to place a yoga bolster or pillows across the right thigh to help support the upper body and head once you fold forward over the right leg. This will take some pressure off of the low back and hamstrings, allowing you to relax into the pose. Close your eyes, breathing into the hips, allowing your upper body to feel very heavy, sinking into the pose.
Benefits: Like many forward bends, Janu Sirsasana is considered a restorative pose because of its calming and re-energizing effects. It can also be a good posture to practice letting go and clearing any emotional attachments as one releases into the forward bend. Some say that powerful emotions or fears are stored in the base of the spine and that these trapped feelings can be cleared through consciously surrendering into this pose. Due to the introspective nature of the posture, Janu Sirsasana can be a good place to help you experience more awareness & connection with your inner self. In addition, this pose may relieve symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and depression, while also known to relieve high blood pressure, tension headaches & menstrual pain.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Pose Type: Hip Opener
Description: Start in seated position with your knees hugged in towards the chest and both feet flat on the mat. Now drop both knees out to opposite sides of the mat, coming into Butterfly Pose, otherwise known as (Baddha Konasana). Be sure the soles of your feet are touching. Next, place your arms at your side and lower your upper body down towards the floor until your spine is flat on the mat. Lay your arms at your sides, equal angles from your torso, with your palms facing the ceiling. Make sure your tailbone isn’t compressed and there’s no stress on your neck or shoulders. If your legs are uncomfortable, place a pillow or bolster underneath the outer thighs of both legs for support. If this pose is uncomfortable to relax into, you can feel free to use yoga props to make necessary modifications. You may use a block or blanket under hips or place a yoga bolster or pillow underneath the back and head for total spinal support.
Benefits: Supta Baddha Konasana stimulates the Sacral Chakra, therefore, it is associated with creativity and determination. Stimulating this chakra is believed to foster inner acceptance, while promoting focus and productivity. Reclining Bound Angle Pose has been associated with balancing both male and female hormones and increasing fertility. This pose relieves symptoms of menstruation and menopause in women. May also relieve stress, anxiety and mild depression. This stretch opens the hips, the inner thighs, groin, and knees.
Pose Type: Inversion
Description: Bring yourself into a supine position, starting out by lying on your right side, then rolling slowly onto your back. Make sure your body is in a neutral position. Extend each of your legs, slightly wider than hip width apart and allow your feet and ankles to relax and flop out towards the sides of the mat, creating an external rotation in the lower body. Allow your arms to rest at your sides, with the palms facing the ceiling. To encourage deregulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, be sure that your hands are at least 12 inches away from the hips. Tuck your shoulder blades up under the back by squeezing them gently down and inward, broadening out the chest. This opens the heart and creates an external rotation in the front body. Close the eyes and bring the focus of your drishti downward, feeling your body release any final tension it is holding onto by surrendering into gravity.
Benefits: Although savasana is typically practiced at the end of a yoga sequence, it can be used to calm the body at the beginning of practice or for resting in the middle of a sequence. At the end of a yoga session, seated meditation traditionally follows savasana. This asana stimulates the muladhara (root) chakra, because the entire length of the body is connected with the earth. Energizing this chakra through savasana is believed to ground the individual, providing the inner stability necessary for personal growth. Some of the benefits of savasana include increase in energy and productivity, a decrease in anxiety and panic attacks, improved memory, focus and concentration, along with an increased sense of confidence. Known to decreases heart rate, which is calming to the mind and relieves stress. May reduce headache, fatigue, and insomnia, while proven to lower high blood pressure.
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Micah Lyn is an Intuitive Healer and E-RYT 500 Certified Yoga Instructor registered with the Yoga Alliance. She offers a variety of private yoga classes, therapeutic yoga sessions and intuitive healing services at Pachamama Yoga ✨ Los Angeles Healing Center. Visit the YTT Programs & Workshops page to see upcoming Online & Hands-on Intensive Yoga Teacher Trainings, Virtual Online Yoga Workshops & Transformational Yoga Retreats featured worldwide.
- E-RYT 500 Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
- YACEP Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
- ASHTANGA YOGA
- HATHA YOGA
- KUNDALINI YOGA
- POWER VINYASA (Baptiste)
- RESTORATIVE YOGA
- IYENGAR YOGA
- CHAKRA YOGA
- YIN YOGA