Sunday, 4 December 2016

Yoga with a bolster/blanket

Ideally you need two bolsters - a flat one to help with stability in poses and a round one to support curves.  If you haven't, folded blankets can replace a flat bolster and a rolled up blanket can replace a round bolster.  I only have a rounded bolster which seems to be fine as a multi-purpose bolster.  A bolster or blanket really comes into its own in restorative poses and in Yin yoga where there are long holds, helping you to relax while your body opens.  Try the following sequence using bolsters or blankets. You will also need a block and two cushions. Always listen to your body and come out of the pose if you need to.

To start lie back, allow your body to relax and your breath to settle.

Supta Baddha Konasana (opens your chest and hips) - sit in front of a flat bolster or a couple of folded up blankets with your knees bent.  Lie back over the bolster or blankets so that your body and head are supported and bring the soles of your feet together so that your knees fall out to the sides.  Support your thighs with cushions in order to protect your SI joint.  Stay here for a few minutes breathing into your tummy.  To come out of the pose, take hold of the outsides of your thighs and draw your knees together.  Remove your cushions.  



Lateral stretch (opens side body for deeper breathing) - lie with your right side over a round bolster or rolled up blanket placed between your ribcage and your pelvis.  Stretch out your legs and take your arms overhead.  Stay here a minute or two breathing into your left side then slowly come out of the pose and repeat on the other side.



Reclined twist - sit with a round bolster or rolled up blanket, placed lengthwise, by your right hip.  Bend your legs back and lie over your bolster so that the left side of your torso and left cheek are on the bolster.  Lie here a minute or two, enjoying the twist then slowly press into your hands to come up and repeat second side.



Extended Child's Pose - sit towards the back of your mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Place a round bolster or rolled up blanket lengthwise between your knees and lie over it placing your right cheek on the bolster.  Relax here for a minute or so then rest your left cheek on the bolster.



Sphinx - a flat bolster or folded blanket can help you move deeper into the backbend.  Place your forearms onto a flat bolster or folded blanket.  You can also make this pose into a restorative pose by placing a rounded bolster or rolled up blanket under your chest.
Reclined Pigeon - come onto all fours and bring your right knee towards your right wrist. Move your right foot over to the left and lower your hips down, supporting your right buttock with a block.  Place a round bolster or rolled up blanket lengthwise in front of you so that you can rest your body and right cheek on the bolster. Repeat second side with your left cheek on the bolster.



Seated Forward Bend - sit with your legs outstretched and slightly apart.  Be on a block if your lower back is rounding.  Place a round bolster on its end between your legs and tilt it towards you. Place your forehead on the other end of the block.  Rest your arms by your sides or hold the bolster.  If you are using blankets have your legs together and place folded blankets on your legs. Exhale fold and rest your head and body over the blankets.



Legs up the Wall -  sit by a wall with your knees bent and your right hip up against the wall. Swivel your hips so that your legs come up the wall.  Shuffle your bottom as close as you can to the wall.  Press the soles of your feet into the wall to lift your hips and pull a flat bolster or  a folded blanket under your hips before lowering your hips.  Position your arms where is comfortable for you, either a little way from your body or overhead.  Close your eyes if you wish and spend 10-15 minutes in the pose if you can.



To come out of the pose, press the soles of your feet into the wall to lift your hips and remove your bolster or folded blanket. Roll onto your right side and draw your knees towards your chest.  Spend a minute or so there to allow your blood pressure to normalise before coming up.  

If you want to take a Savasana, lie on your mat with a round bolster or a rolled up blanket under your knees. This is especially good if you have lower back issues to take the strain off your back.

Namaste,



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