I woke up last week and decided that after sleeping 8 hours, I need more sleep. The truth was that I need more rest. No matter what your political views are, I think we all can agree that this past month has been stressful and full of change. I think we all could benefit from a little rest. Rest from social media. Rest from confrontation. Rest from busy-ness. Enter yoga.
If you have been to a yoga class, you know that each class ends in Savasana or “corpse pose” or as my teacher calls it “final relaxation pose”. In Savasana we give ourselves permission to just rest and do nothing. No more poses. No more controlled breathing. No more meditation. Just lay there and thank your body by just relaxing and resting.
Lie flat on your back, close your eyes and let your arms be relaxed and loose by yourself. Your legs should be so relaxed that your feet turn out and away from another.
If you have a door to your office. This pose, constructive rest, can be a Godsend. You need to lie down to do this pose. I start every morning and end every day with constructive rest. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are lying flat on the floor. Position your feet so that they are hip distance apart, or are on the edge of each side of your mat. Allow your knees to fall in, so that they are touching each other. Give yourself a hug by extending your arms in front of you and bending your arms at the elbow so that your arms cross each other and your hands come to rest on opposite shoulder. Stay here and do nothing.
If you find your mind wandering or you start fidgeting, it is okay to recite a short mantra. One of my favorite mantras is “ I am enough”. You can slowly repeat that phrase in your mind to help your mind quiet down and stop running between your to-do list, your recent email, the phone calls you need to make and the feeling of being stressed and anxious.
Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Pose (Suptapadangustasana)
If you have a strap or belt or scarf handy, you can use it in this next pose. If you do not have one, it’s ok! While still lying on your back, keep your right leg bent and your right foot on your mat or on the floor. Take your strap/belt/scarf and loop it around your left foot as you extend your left leg to straight up towards the ceiling/sky. The goal here is to keep your left leg straight, so if you need to lower your left leg, do it. Not everyone is going to have their leg straight up at a 90 degree angle. If you do not have back issues, you can straighten your RIGHT leg so that the back of your heel is resting gently on your mat. If this causes you to arch your back, or to have lower back pain, please re-bend the right leg. Stay here for 3-5 minutes and then switch legs.
The last pose for today is actually an energizing pose, because let’s face it, we all can’t lie around in Savasana all day. Once we allow our body to rest, we need to energize it so that we can start our day. Now enters, upward facing dog aka updog aka Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.
Upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
To enter Updog, roll over onto your stomach. Bring your arms by your side and bend your elbow so that your arms make a 90 degree angle. Your hands should be at the level of your chest/ribs. The tops of your feet are resting gently on the mat. On an inhale, glide your torso forward as you straighten your arms. Lift your hips , thighs and shins off of the floor or your mat, so that the only things touching the mat are your hands and the tops of your feet. This is a very strong and active pose. Your leg muscles should be firing to keep your legs straight and the same is true of your arms. Your chest is wide open and your shoulders are rolled back. Keep your gaze forward.
For more fun poses, yoga inspiration and yoga information check out my website: www.thejourneysamadhi.com or follow me on Instagram and Facebook @thejourneysamadhi. If you have subscribed to our mailing list, please go to www.beautyrefinedmd.com or our Facebook page Beauty Refined, MD and sign up. You’ll receive all of this good information and more, right to your email!
By Melynda Barnes, M.D. - Co-Founder, Facial Plastic Surgeon, and Yogi