Attention people! Whether you are experiencing a stressful day or an injury, restorative yoga may just be the thing for you, especially for mental health.
In fact, if you’re recovering from surgery, it may be one of the only forms of exercise that is safe and effective as it can help in fostering a mind-body connection.
Restorative yoga is much gentler, encouraging the use of props like pillows and blankets to facilitate relaxation as the “rest and restore” stimulates the body’s processes for restoration and recovery, such as digestion, sleep and tissue repair.
Although these gentle exercises are safe for most people, if you’re rehabbing from surgery or an injury, check with your doctor for approval, reports CNN. Here are the set of excersices that you can practice with 10 or more long, deep breaths.
Diaphragmatic breathing with mantra meditation
Diaphragmatic breathing is most efficient and effective ally in the recovery process.
It takes only 90 seconds of deep breathing to begin decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure and stimulating aspects of your nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems that promote relaxation and restoration.
To establish diaphragmatic breathing, focus your attention on the lowest lobes of your lungs and the corresponding lower-rib movement. When you inhale deeply, your lower ribs externally rotate, expanding outward. When you exhale completely, your lower ribs internally rotate, moving in and down.
Once you’ve established a long, deep breath, begin repeating a mantra to coincide with each inhalation and exhalation.
Inhale: I am healthy.
Exhale: I feel strong.
Supported fish pose
Lie supine on a bolster or large pillow so that your entire back, shoulders, neck and head are supported.
As long as you don’t experience low-back pain, extend your legs straight out on the floor. Otherwise, you can modify by bending your knees. Let your arms rest out to the sides to create an opening sensation.
This pose releases chest, neck and shoulder tension. Once approved by your doctor, this can be effective for gently releasing scar tissue and adhesions in people recovering from heart, lung and breast surgeries.
Gentle is the key word here. Always listen to your body.
Legs up the wall
Legs-up-the-wall pose, known as Viparita Karani in Sanskrit, is arguably the most popular restorative yoga pose.
To get into this posture, simply sit on the floor with your right shoulder and right hip a few inches from a wall. Lower your left shoulder toward the floor and swing your legs straight up the wall with your back and head resting on the ground.
If having your legs straight up is too much for you, modify by resting them on a chair seat with your knees bent.
Progressive muscle relaxation
You can do this exercise from sitting, standing or lying down.
The goal of this practice is to actively create a sense of relaxation throughout your body by first tensing each area to establish an awareness and connection. Establish diaphragmatic breathing and maintain it throughout the exercise.
On an inhalation, close your eyes tightly while clenching your teeth to tighten your jaw. Exhale to release (but you can keep your eyes gently closed, if you prefer), softening your face, jaw and tongue. Inhale fully, expanding every part of your ribcage, and hold your breath, creating tension in your chest, upper back and neck. Exhale to release completely. Inhale and squeeze your hands into fists, tensing all the muscles of your arms.
Exhale to release. Inhale to squeeze the muscles of your bottom and pelvic floor while tightening your abdomen. Exhale to release.