A gentle yoga practice for stress relief and feeling burnout.
This is a beautiful and gentle restorative yoga practice which may help to relax the body and mind. It focuses primarily on two main energy centres, Swadisthana (the sacral chakra) and Anahata (the heart chakra). Both of these have influence on our emotional states and how we interact with the world. Anahata is the main energy channel for forgiveness, compassion and unconditional love and it is located in the centre of the chest. Therefore working with opening the shoulders and chest can help to open the flow of this chakra. Swadisthana helps us to face our emotions and let them go by focusing on the tension relief from the hips. When we have pushed ourselves beyond the limit, we need to learn to be compassionate and gentle with ourselves.
When feeling fatigued, stressed out or energy depleted/burnout, this is the body’s way of telling us it has done too much effort and it needs time to rejuvenate and restore. Sometimes, although we notice signs of overwhelm and stress, we carry on through with our daily practices, motivated and determined to power through it. But we must always remember that in life, there is a need to find balance between being active, and also taking rest/pause.
A restorative practice can give us the time to pause and reflect inwards lovingly and in a safe and self-paced way. The most important aspect of this practice is to focus on giving the body support by using yoga props so that there is not much physical effort done. In this way, we can give the body the space to soften and just be effortless.
Start the practice with Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle pose). Use a bolster under the spine and if needed a yoga block or cushion under each knee. This asana helps to gently open the inner thighs and gives a soft stretch to the hamstrings. Your arms can be open to the side, or place your left hand in the middle of the chest and then the right hand on top. Rest your head gently on the bolster and focus on taking deep breaths.
Hold for 5 minutes.
From Supta Baddha Konasana, gently bring the knees together and turn them to one side of the body whilst keeping your upper body open. If comfortable, stretch your arms above the head. This twist variation helps to relieve the lower back tension as well as stimulate the digestive organs and cleansing the mind.
Hold for 3 minutes on each side.
Once you have practiced the twists on both sides, turn your body to face the bolster, come on your knees and stretch your arms forward whilst melting your chest area onto the bolster. Try to keep your hips in line with the thighs and if needed place a blanket to provide cushioning for the knees. Uttana Shishosana helps to open the chest, stretches the spine and back muscles and also opens the shoulders.
Hold for 3-4 minutes.
This is not an actual yoga posture but I gave it the name of “Loving hero” because hugging the bolster is a beautiful way to feel the love that is within. It helps us to soften our hearts and melt away any cold feelings such as guilt, shame, anger, jealousy, sadness etc. Virasana provides a gentle stretch to the quadriceps and grounds the body. If you feel any discomfort in the knees, use another bolster to sit on.
Hold for 3 minutes.
Then melt your back down unto a bolster and practice Supta Virasana/recline hero pose. If the knees are uncomfortable in this position, open the knees further away from one another or just extend the legs. This is the final asana before Savasana, so let yourself relax, breathe and just be.
Hold for 5 minutes.
Finish the practice with Savasana and relax. Using the bolster under the knees can help ease the lower back and provide gentle support for our legs.