Relaxing and Restorative Yoga Practice for Stress Relief
Using Props for Support
For this practice, you will need a bolster or a dense couch cushion. A bolster is a great investment for your yin practice as it provides the support needed to deeply relax into each pose. If you don't have a bolster, a dense couch cushion can work as well. Place your bolster at the upper right corner of your mat and let's begin.
We'll start in a traditional easy seated pose, crossed at the ankles. Sit up tall with your hands in your lap, close your eyes, and take a moment to feel your body relax as you breathe in and out through your nose. Allow any tension or stress to melt away with each exhale.
Forward Fold with Bolster Support
Extend your right leg straight at a 45-degree angle away from your body. Hinge forward at your hips and use your bolster to support you. If you're feeling a little stiff today, bring your bolster to a higher setting. You can also use your hands or even stack your fists to relax the weight of your upper body into this pose. Feel your breath travel up and down your spine as you relax a little more with each exhale.
You're welcome to stay in this pose or go a little deeper. Rise up and shift your bolster to its medium setting, parallel with the inside of your right leg. Adjust your hips to square off to your right foot and then hinge at your hips, folding over your bolster. Release the weight of your body and allow yourself to fully relax into this pose.
After spending some time on the right side, let's switch to the left side. Extend your left leg straight out from your side at a 45-degree angle with your bolster long out in front of you. Hinge at your hips and fold over your bolster, adjusting the height and using your hands to support the weight of your body. The idea is to use a prop to bring the ground up to you, allowing you to fully relax and release any tension or tightness in your body.
Twist with Bolster Support
Now let's move into a twist with the support of your bolster. Sit on your right hip and bring both knees to 90 degrees. Pull your bolster in towards your right hip and then turn your body towards the bolster as you lay your chest and right ear down. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your face, neck, shoulders, back, belly, and hips. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to sink deeper into the twist.
To deepen the twist, lift your head and turn through your neck, laying your left ear down. Feel the gentle stretch through your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Breathe deeply and release any tension or tightness with each exhale.
After spending some time on the right side, let's switch to the left side. Adjust your legs for 90 degrees in both knees, with shins parallel to the side and back of your mat. Walk your body forward, lowering your left ear down. Allow your body to soften and relax into place, without straining or forcing. Feel the weight of your body melt into the bolster and the mat beneath you.
If you did the twist on the other side, deepen the twist by lifting your head, turning through your neck, and lowering your right ear down. Take deep breaths and feel the gentle stretch through your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
To complete your practice, come back to center by first taking your left ear down. Use your hands to support you as you press yourself up, turn your body to the right, and draw your legs in. Move your bolster off to the side and come to lie down on your back. Take a moment to rest and relax in this final relaxation pose. I hope you found it helpful for reducing stress, finding calm, and restoring balance to your mind and body. Remember, you can always come back to this practice whenever you need a moment of relaxation and self-care.