This is a sequence I shared on Instagram and Facebook in December. In the winter I feel myself drawn towards restorative poses. (Actually as a Mom I feel drawn to them, too!) This is a sequence that I love to practice at home. I put on warm socks, grab my props and eye pillow, and put on some mellow music. (Check out my Playlists page for a Restorative soundtrack.) I hope you enjoy this practice as much as I do!
Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Props – Bolster, Blanket, Strap, 2 Blocks, and optional Eye Pillow
Place the Bolster lengthwise on your mat. Fold a blanket in half and place at one edge of Bolster to use as a pillow for your head. Sit on the opposite side of the Bolster. Make a large loop with your strap and place it over you (like you would with a hula hoop) until one side of the loop is right above your hips. Bend your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Place the other side of the loop under your feet and tighten the loop slightly to hold your legs in this shape. Place the blocks under your knees to support them at a height that feels comfortable. Slowly lay back over the Bolster and place the back of your head on the blanket. Use your hands to lengthen your lower back. If your lower back feels compressed, slide your hips about 3-4 inches away from the bolster. Place an eye pillow over your eyes to block out the light. Take your arms out to the sides and turn your palms up. Breathe and allow your body to release into the support of the props. Stay here for 5-10 minutes.
Supta Padangusthasana 1 – Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose 1
Props – Strap and blanket
Place the blanket under your head as you lay down on the mat. Optional to place your feet against a wall. Make a small loop in your strap that is big enough for your foot. Bend your left knee toward your chest and place the loop around your foot. Hold the tail end of the strap in your left hand and slowly extend your heel up above your hip. Your knee may stay very bent. Place your right hand on the top of your right thigh and press it toward the floor. Point your right toes straight up and flex your foot (or press it against the wall). Hold for 1-2 minutes before switching sides.
Supta Padangusthasana 2 – Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose 2
Props – Strap, Bolster, and Blanket
After you finish the previous pose, place a Bolster alongside your left hip. Bend your left knee toward your chest and place the loop around your foot. Hold the tail end of the strap in your left hand and extend your heel above your hip. Your knee may stay very bent. Place your right hand on the top of your right thigh pressing it toward the floor. Flex your right foot (or press it against the wall) with the toes pointing straight up. Turn your left leg out in the hip socket, rotating the thigh to the left and seeing your toes turn to the left as well. Take your leg out to the left while pressing your right thigh to the mat. Bring your leg to the Bolster to rest. Again, your leg may be bent. Breathe and widen the front of your chest bringing your shoulders toward the mat. Hold for 1-2 minutes before switching sides.
Supported Supine Twist
Props – Bolster and blanket
Place the Bolster to the left side of your mat. Bend your right knee toward your chest. On an exhale, bring your knee to the left for a twist with the shin and foot resting on the Bolster. With the left leg, roll onto the outer foot, leg, and hip. Rest your left hand on your right leg. Reach your right arm out to the right side and turn your palm up toward the ceiling. Rest the back of your head on the blanket and turn your gaze to the right. Hold each side for 1-2 minutes while breathing slowly.
Balasana – Child’s Pose
Props – Bolster and Blanket
Place the Bolster lengthwise on your mat. Fold a blanket in half and place on the side of the Bolster opposite from you. Take your knees just to the edge of the Bolster and about as wide. Place your big toes together. Send your hips toward your heels and rest your torso on the Bolster. Turn your head to one side with your cheek coming onto the blanket. Relax your arms and hands along your sides. Close your eyes breathing softly. Stay for 3-5 minutes, turning your head the opposite direction halfway through.
Salamba Bharadvajasana – Supported Bharadvaja’s Twist
Props – Bolster and Blanket
After finishing Balasana sit with your outer right hip touching the short side of the Bolster. Place your right shin parallel with the long side of the mat. Move your left thigh about parallel to your right shin. Turn your torso to the right and put one hand on each side of the Bolster. Take 3 breaths here lengthening your spine as your inhale and turning your chest toward the Bolster as you exhale. Lie over your props and place your right cheek on the blanket. Hug the Bolster and relax your shoulders and hands. Close your eyes and rest on the support for 3-5 minutes before the second side.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Variation – Bridge Pose Variation
Props – Bolster, block, and strap
Place the block against a wall on the medium height. Make a loop in the strap that is as wide as your hipbones. Put the Bolster lengthwise on the mat about 2 feet away from the block. (You will adjust this distance when you come into the pose.) Place the strap right above your ankles. Sit on the Bolster facing the wall with your feet on the floor. Slowly lie back using your arms to support yourself. Lay with the bottom tips of your shoulder blades (middle of your upper back) at the edge of the Bolster and the upper arms and back of your head on the floor. Straighten your legs and put your feet flat against the wall with your heels on the block. If you cannot straighten your legs or cannot touch the wall with your feet, come up to sit and adjust the Bolster away or towards the wall. Once you have the correct placement of the Bolster and are in the pose, actively press your feet into the wall with your toes pointing straight up. The strap will hold your legs hips distance apart. Send your inner thighs toward the floor and draw your front hipbones toward your lower front ribs, lengthening your lower back. Let the back of your head rest on the floor and press your upper arms down to the mat. Widen across your collarbones and breathe here for 3-5 minutes.
Viparita Karani – Legs up the Wall Pose
Props – Blanket and eye pillow
Fold a blanket in half. Place it about 3 inches away from the wall. Lay in a fetal position with one hip on the blanket and your buttocks close to the wall. Roll onto your back and straighten your legs up against the wall. Your hip bones and lower front ribs should be about the same height so your abdomen can relax. (Optional – place the looped strap from the previous pose around your ankles to hold the legs hips distance apart.) Use an eye pillow over your eyes and place your arms where they are most comfortable. I like the cactus shape shown in the picture, but you could also place them along your sides or hands on your belly. Whatever arm position you choose, relax your shoulders and upper back. Release across your face and breathe gently. Stay here for 5-10 minutes.
Savasana – Corpse Pose
Props – 2 blocks, Bolster, blanket, eye pillow
Put 2 blocks on the mat about hip distance apart. Place a Bolster horizontally across the mat a few inches away from the blocks. When you lay down the back of your knees should be in the Bolster and your heels will rest on the blocks. Relax your legs and cover yourself with a blanket. Put the eye pillow over your eyes and relax your arms along your sides. Let your entire body rest, releasing any tension you may feel. Stay here for 10 minutes.