Many people struggle with the idea of slowing down and trading in fast-paced, challenging movements for slow and steady stretches and gentle restorative poses. But after you experience the incredibly renewing, relaxing feeling of these restorative yoga poses with a block, you will sleep heavenly!
Restorative Fish Pose
While this is a calming pose, it is also a gentle chest-opener, making room for the breath to expand in your heart center, which may leave you feeling gently energized. It is a great pose after a day of sitting as it re-opens posture, elongates the spine, and releases neck and shoulder tension if propped well. This pose can be useful for calming the body, clearing the mind, and opening the breath and heart center.
YOU WILL NEED
2 long rectangle–folded blankets stacked for back support
2 long, rectangular, folded blankets for leg lift support (Fold one into fourths and one into thirds.)
2 small towels for knee support and neck and head support
1 strap for leg support
Optional: eyebag or an extra blanket for weight on top of the body to create a sense of calming and groundedness or for warmth
Prepare support for your back. Place the two stacked blankets vertically up the center of your mat. Stagger the blankets slightly, so they are not flush with each other. This will create a more gradual backbend.
Place your towel for neck and head support near the top of your mat or on your blanket stack, so it is there for you when you lower down.
Prepare support for your legs. Place an accordian-folded (4 folds) blanket at the foot of your mat and another tri-folded (3 folds) at a similar height on the bottom of your blanket stack. Place a rolled towel across the folded blanket that is on your top of your vertical stack. This will go under your knee pits.
Prepare your strap: Secure a strap around your thighs so that your legs are hip-distance apart. Ensure that the strap does not feel too restrictive or cut off your circulation. It should be just tight enough that you can let go of the effort of holding your legs together, and release all muscular activity.
Move Into the Pose
Put the strap around your thighs before you lie down.
Sit in the middle of your blanket stack, with knees bent and feet up on your folded blankets.
Slowly lower yourself down. Position yourself so that the edge of your blanket stack is just below your armpits, the upper back and head landing on the ground. Place your arms on the ground just above the blanket stack, in a T-shape or a cactus position (see photo above). Place your neck roll towel under you to ensure that your neck has a natural cervical curve.
Mindfully take your legs over the folded blanket support. Allow your legs to be hip-distance apart, and completely held by your strap. The backs of your heels should rest heavily on the folded blanket.
You can place an eye bag on your belly or if you have an extra blanket, place it over your pelvis or over your whole body.
Make any adjustments you need to ensure that you are evenly laid out and comfortable.
Relax Into the Pose
Take several long breaths and progressively release all your body weight down toward the ground. Let the props hold you up.
Before you finish, bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart center.
Feel your palms receiving your breath. Welcome your caring breath with your caring hands.
When you’re ready to finish, slowly draw your knees toward your belly, and roll toward your right side. If you wish, slide your strap off. Pause here on your side and enjoy a few quiet breaths. Press to a seated position. Stack your hands over your heart. Feel your breath in your hands. Slowly transition back into the space around you.