recline and relax …

Restorative yoga was developed by Yogi B.K.S Iyengar after he travelled from India to the U.K and noticed that westerners were a lot more stiff and inflexible in their joints. His introduction of using props such as blocks, bolsters, straps and the wall are used to maximise the opening and awareness of the body, providing support to the less flexible, and extra extension to more advanced student. I have heard Mr Iyengar still practices for 3 hours everyday which completely puts me to shame!

Iyengar yoga emphasises precision and alignment in the postures. I remember my initial 4 sessions were fantastic with us doing the postures before and then after the correction process and the differences in which muscles I should have and shouldn’t have been using were mind-boggling. Not all poses need a big range of motion initially in order to get the pose and alignment of the body correct. Constant misalignment, over-extension and poor asana’s or postures can cause long term damage, sprains and strains to the body over time.

The props, devised by Mr Iyengar during his lifetime of study, also help sick or disabled people to benefit from the postures. At the Iyengar Institute in Pune, many very ill patients are afforded an enhanced quality of life, or even cured, without drugs or invasive surgery. It is also the only yoga system with a recognisable instructor’s qualification. Teaching is oriented towards gradual but steady progress, rather than quick and fleeting results. Over a period of years (my teacher studied and practised for 5 years in order to become qualified) Iyengar Yoga becomes an extremely powerful and sophisticated discipline which can be practised to a very advanced age. Iyengar Yoga NZ

I wanted to share with you two fantastic poses I enjoy.

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Photo: Iyengar Yoga Centre Hamilton

 Reclining Bound Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana – The stretch in this pose through the chest is phenomenal. Hold for 15 minutes.

What you Need:

  • Bolster to place under spine
  • Blocks to place under knees for support
  • Blanket to place over bolster for neck support

Benefits:

  • Calms the body (nervous system)
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of stress, mild depression, menstruation and menopause
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles between the ribs
  • Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
  • Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck

Aids:

  • Constipation
  • Digestive ailments
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Menstrual pain

“Yoga is for all of us. To limit yoga to national or cultural boundaries is the denial of universal consciousness.”– B.K.S. Iyengar

Photo: jenniferloher.com
Photo: jenniferloher.com

Legs Up The Wall Pose – Viparita Karani is very relaxing and calming. This 10 minute pose also allows time to listen to a guided meditation or to focus on your breathe.

What you Need:

  • Bolster to place under lower back
  • Blanket to place under your neck and head
  • A wall or a tree

Benefits:

  • Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
  • Relieves mild backache
  • Calms the mind

Aids:

This seems to be a  good-for-what-ails-you pose offering relief from many conditions over time.

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • High and low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • Mild depression
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Varicose veins
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menopause
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruby says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, I will definitely try the poses!

    1. sandra says:

      hey Ruby, great to hear. Let me know what you think 🙂

  2. Kris says:

    Ahhhh yes, these are two of my favorite restorative poses, as well! My other fave is supported bridge- also a great pose for opening up our closed heart-space (hello slouching laptop users- me included). Thank you for sharing!

    1. palomino says:

      ha ! exactly I have the slouching laptop shoulders also 🙂

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