Beneficial chilling with restorative yoga
Earlier this week I'd been working on proper relaxation with 2 crossfitteras who are going hard each day. We did a restorative routine. I thought of sharing it with you, because for this little series you won’t need any high-end yoga props, which makes it easy to give it a go. In total you will spend 45 minutes to one hour to do the routine, but each single posture done by itself is already beneficial.
Restorative yoga is a very gentle form of yoga, that calms down the nervous system. The aim is to get into a deep state of relaxation with your body and mind. There are many postures that fall under restorative yoga. Especially when you are training like a beast, this type of yoga is very helpful to relieve from the 'stress' you put on your body, and mind.
Practically speaking, restorative yoga is useful for you as a fighter/athlete when:
- You train late in the evening and you have trouble going to sleep afterwards
- General problems with insomnia
- You are dealing with stress and want to find some tension relieve
- You are recovering from soreness
- You are cutting weight and want to balance out your hormones not to stagnate
As you can see there are several (some surprising) benefits to restorative yoga. Even if you just do one posture, it could bring you in a more calm state. Important is to stay in each posture for at least 5 minutes, but around 10 minutes would be even better to fully experience and benefit from conscious relaxation. Or in other words: beneficial chilling.
Lay down on your back. Cross the left ankle over the right, and bring both feet over to the right corner of the mat. Bring both hands to the right upper corner of the mat. The entire left side of the body is stretching out: delicious. If your shoulders are tight you can put something under your hands/wrists to sustain you. This one obviously is best when it’s done in both directions! Before switching to the other side, stretch yourself out in the middle of the mat.
Lazy Tree pose
Usually tree pose is done standing, but this time we’re staying on the floor. Lay in the center of the mat. Bend the left knee and place your foot on your right inner thigh or calf as you make your knee fall out to the side. The hip is opening. Put something under that knee to support you and keep it effortless. This one again is made to do on both sides, but you could pair it up with the next pose. And after doing both Lazy Tree and Sleeping Tiger on one side, move on to doing both on the other side.
Sleeping Tiger Pose
Ok, I just made that up, it's not officially called Sleeping Tiger pose. But I like to think of it like that. Coming from Lazy Tree pose, the only thing you do is bring your left knee upright. Then roll yourself over onto your right side. Put something soft like a pillow or a rolled yoga mat under your knee, and let your head rest on a pillow or block. This way there's space for your shoulder to rest.
Legs up the wall
For this, go against the wall and sit sideways as close to the wall as possible. Then sweep your legs up and correct your position until it's like on the picture above. This pose is almost the super hero of yoga. It's known to cure and prevent a ton of conditions, including insomnia, headache and depression. Also it balances out blood pressure and hormones.
Legs up the wall stretch variation
Slide down the left foot until it's just flat on the wall. Put your right ankle right above your knee. (or: right under your knee from your point of view in this pose) Next, start sliding down your left foot even further, this way you will feel the right hip opening, and the back of your right leg gets into a deep stretch. Go slow, look for a real stretch, but don't cross the line of where it starts to hurt. After 5 minutes here, you can change and do the same thing with the other leg.
Like in a traditional yoga class, I always end my sessions with savasana, that is the final resting posture. Everything in this pose is relaxed and passive. Legs and arms are loosely spread. To support you, you can put something right under your knees or a tiny bit above them. This will release the lower back.
- banana pose right side
- banana pose left side
- lazy tree left leg
- sleeping tiger on your right side
- lazy tree right leg
- sleeping tiger on your lift side
- legs up the wall
- legs up the wall stretch variation right side
- legs up the wall stretch variation left side
I dare you to give this routine a try on a moment you could use some relaxation, need to recover your body or want to de-stress. Don't forget to let me know your experiences with restorative yoga aka beneficial chilling. Shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit the pm button on social media with your questions, ideas, and requests of what you want to read about next!!