If you’re anything like me, you juggle long days at work, family and friends (and maybe kids?!), all those fun grown-up responsibilities and trying to find some time and space for yourself amongst all of that. Sometimes, when I get home from a particularly big day, I just want to collapse into a heap and snooze for a week!
Fortunately that doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does I have a couple of yoga poses that I find so beneficial. They help me feel centred, calm and relaxed afterwards – and even energise me enough that I can feel like a normal human being again.
So next time you come home tired and worn out, why not give one of these ago and see for yourself?
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall)
This pose is incredibly rejuvenating. It’s actually one of the most powerful of all the restorative poses and so effortless. This pose can help to boost your energy and it’s also great for grounding your energy bringing you down to earth if you’re a little bit jumpy. And as this pose is very calming, and I recommend it to my clients who are suffering from insomnia as it helps you slow down and still your mind. It’s also brilliant for lymphatic drainage so if you’re legs are swollen and heavy from standing or flying, this pose is for you! Start by holding this pose for 2-3mins and gradually build up to a longer session of 10-20mins.
- Place the long edge of the yoga bolster (or one/two pillows) a couple of inches from the wall
- Sit to the side of a wall
- Press into your hands and slowly bring your legs up the wall
- Rotate your torso so you are now facing the wall
- Bend your knees a little, press into your hands, and gently push your buttocks closer to the wall (against the wall if you can and it feels comfortable) – your hips will now be resting on the bolster/pillows
- Rest your arms either out to the side, up alongside your head or hands can rest gently on your belly
- Gently close your eyes, allow your breath to become deep and slow, and just let go
- Remember this is a restorative pose so ensure you are comfortable so you reap the many benefits
- When you are ready to come out, gently bend your knees toward your chest and roll to the right side. Take a few breaths there before gently coming up to a seated position
Viparita Karani is an inversion that should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma. If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.
This beautiful pose is recommend by yogis for nourishing our adrenals and kidneys, and balancing our hormones. It is a peaceful and calming pose and you could start by holding it for 3-5mins gradually building up to a longer session of 10-20mins if you wish.
- Come to a seated position on your mat/towel
- Bring the soles of your feet together and then gently slide them away from you until you form a diamond shape with your legs
- Slowly begin to fold forward from your hips allowing your back to round
- You can use a block (or a stack of books or folded blanket if you don’t have one) placed on your feet and gently allow your forehead to rest on the block (you can set your hands out in front)
If you have sciatica, elevate the hips by sitting on a cushion, until the knees are below the hips, or avoid this pose entirely. If you have any lower back disorders do not allow the spine to round, keep the back as straight as you can. Avoid dropping the head down if the neck has suffered whiplash or has reverse curvature.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
This pose is used in yoga classes as a resting pose in between other poses, but it’s one of my all-time favourites to restore and recover after a big day. It releases the shoulders, chest, hips and lower back. It lengthens and stretches the spine, calms the body and mind and alleviates stress and anxiety. For extra relaxation you can use a bolster length ways between your thighs and lie your whole stomach on it, or you can use 2-3 pillows instead. Start with holding the pose for 3-5mins and gradually build up to a longer session if desired. Half way through make sure you turn your head to the other side so you balance both sides.
- Come to all fours on your mat/towel
- Take your knees roughly mat distance apart
- Ensure your big toes are touching and your heels are apart
- Place your bolster or pillows length-ways and between your legs
- Sit your buttocks back on your heels
- Fold forward and rest your belly and torso on your bolster/pillows – rest your head to one side, turning your head to the other side at the halfway way mark
- Rest your arms out in front with the palms facing down or by the side of your body with the palms facing up (whichever one feels more comfortable!)
If you have knee issues, you may need to place a towel or blanket between thighs and calves or avoid the pose altogether.
I invite you to try these beautiful restorative poses and I hope that you find them as beneficial as I do! Tell me in the comments below, what are your other go-to techniques to recover after a big day?