Supta Baddha Konasana
(SOUP-tah BAH-dah cone-NAHS-anna)
supta = lying down, reclining
baddha = bound
kona = angle
'Tis the season of giving! And although I truly believe that it's always better to give than receive, I also believe it's important to slow down and take care of your Self too. This time of year, take a step back from all you have going on and practice Supta Baddha Konasana, a posture that is all about nuturing you.
Supta Baddha Konasana is by far one of my favorite restorative yoga postures. Because of its heart and hip opening action as well as release in the lower abdomen, this pose is beneficial for those with asthma, infertility, IBS, heart disease, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Be mindful in this pose if you suffer from low back discomfort, knee injuries or discomfort in your neck. Experiment using different props until you feel comfortable. Getting into this posture is easy, but you'll want to have props to have blankets, blocks, a bolster, an eye pillow, and in some variations, a strap ready to set you up all yummy and nice.
First, sit at the front of your bolster with one end touching your tailbone. If you don't have a bolster make a stack of folded blankets as pictured above. Next, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor and gently begin to lay yourself back onto the bolster or stack of blankets. You can increase the height of the bolster by adding additional blankets.
From here, allow your knees to open out to the sides with soles of the feet touching. Place blocks under your knees for support. Roll your shoulder blades down your back to relax them and allow your arms to drape to the side of your body with palms facing up. If you like, you can cover yourself with a blanket or place an eye pillow over your eyes for ultimate care and relaxation. Watch each inhalation and each exhalation. Stay in this pose for at least five minutes, taking up to 15 or 30 minutes to really experience the posture.
There are LOTS of versions of this pose, so take your time to settle in and decide what works for you. Also, try not to get overwhelmed by this laundry list of supplies--if you don't happen to have a bolster then you can use pillows or blankets as a substitute. Don't have any blocks? Try using rolled up beach towels to support your knees and wrists. Play with what you have to find the right mix of support that allows for ultimate relaxation.
What are some of your favorite restorative postures?
Photo by Shining Lotus, Mina Habibi. :)