By Faye Martins
In today’s fast-paced world, many of us experience unremitting low levels of stress. This level of stress may be quite insidious. We may not always even realize that we are stressed out, but our bodies and minds still take a toll. If a state of hyper-vigilance and anxiety becomes chronic, our nervous system becomes over stimulated. Some of the effects of long term stress are a lowered immune system, difficulty learning new information, memory problems, high blood pressure and even depression.
There are a number of Yoga asanas that are very helpful for relaxing both the body and mind. A regular practice of Yoga postures and breathing exercises will gently soothe an anxious mind and release deeply held tension throughout the body. There are also a number of back bending, inversion and sitting postures that may be practiced restoratively by incorporating the support of bolsters, blankets, pillows, eye bags and Yoga blocks. Supported Goddess Pose, Legs Up the Wall Pose and Supported Child’s Pose are three examples of wonderfully relaxing, restorative Yoga asanas.
Supported Child’s Pose
To practice Supported Child’s Pose you will need a Yoga bolster or a thick blanket that your can roll up to approximate the size and shape of a Yoga bolster. When you are ready, kneel on your Yoga mat and place the bolster or rolled blanket lengthwise on the mat in front of you so that the prop will support your entire torso, shoulders, neck and head when you rest in the pose.
Spread your legs a little further than hips’ distance apart, and with your next exhale slowly lay your upper body lengthwise along the bolster. The bottom of the bolster should fit snugly into your pelvic cavity and flush against your hip bones. The top of the bolster should support your head. Place one cheek down on the bolster and rest your arms loosely along the bolster with your hands palms down at the front end of your Yoga mat.
Hold this pose for several minutes as you breathe deeply, relax and melt into the bolster or blanket. Midway through your practice of Supported Child’s Pose, turn your head and rest on the opposite cheek. This will help to equalize the elongation of the neck muscles along both sides of the neck. When you are ready, push yourself up slowly to a comfortable kneeling position. Pause for a moment to experience the quietude and peace of Supported Child’s Pose.
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