Sometimes we can feel extra-tired and cranky while "Auntie Flo" is visiting. So what’s the best way to stay cool, calm and collected during arts and crafts week at panty camp? This restorative yoga set will have you feeling relaxed and revitalized.
1. Reclining bound angle pose
This yoga pose relieves symptoms of menstruation, mild depression and stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Start in a seated position with a bolster directly behind you and legs extended out in front of you. As you inhale, bend your knees and pull heels in towards your pelvis with the soles of the feet touching.
- Exhale, release knees out to the side and down towards the earth. Place yoga blocks under knees to support them and encourage relaxation, and make sure the bolster is against your back, touching the sacrum.
- Inhale and lengthen through the spine; exhale and recline back onto the bolster. You can use a blanket under the back of your neck and head for support.
- As you settle into the pose, make sure your entire lower back is completely supported by the bolster; relax arms down to the sides with palms facing up.
Stay in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. To come out of the pose: Inhale; use your hands to help draw the knees together, then extend legs straight for a few breaths, allowing the knee and hip joint to reset. Then roll to either side and press your way back to a seated position.
2. Supported wide-angle seated forward bend
This pose stimulates the abdominal organs and calms the nervous system.
- From a seated position, extend your legs out to a wide V-shape with kneecaps facing straight up. Place a bolster in between your legs so it rests snugly against the front of your pelvis.
- Inhale and lengthen up through the spine. Exhale and fold forward from the hips. Rest the torso on the bolster with one ear facing down. Be sure to switch ears about halfway through the pose to balance the opening in the neck.
- If a bolster is too low, add folded blankets to raise the height of the bolster or use yoga blocks to support your forehead. As you relax into the pose, allow all muscles to soften, and let your hands and arms to relax on the earth, completely surrendering onto the yoga props.
Stay in the pose for three to six minutes. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to the back of the knees; on the inhale, pull your knees together toward the torso, resting the soles on the feet on the earth with knees bent. If it feels good, you can release the knees side to side in a windshield-wiper movement to help relieve any stiffness.
3. Supported child's pose
This is a resting pose that helps to soothe menstrual discomfort and relieve symptoms of fatigue and stress. It is very nurturing and soothing to the mind.
- Start in a kneeling position with knees wide and big toes gently touching. Sit down and back so sit bones are resting on your heels. Place a bolster or stack of folded blankets between the thighs so it rests close to the torso.
- Tightly roll a blanket into a Tootsie Roll shape and place snugly into your hip creases. Inhale and lengthen up through the spine; exhale and release your chin toward your chest and rest your torso on the bolster with one ear facing down.
- Be sure to switch ears about halfway through the pose to balance the opening in the neck. Allow the back to round slightly as the rolled blankets put gentle pressure on the lower abdomen.
Rest in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. If the blanket roll feels like too much pressure you can pull it out at any time. When you are ready to come out of the pose, place hands onto the earth under your shoulders and press your way back to a comfortable seated position.
4. Supported corpse pose
This pose reduces headache, fatigue, insomnia, and symptoms of stress and mild depression. It helps relax the body and lower heart rate.
- Lie on your back with a bolster or folded blankets under your knees and a blanket under the back of your neck and head. Fold one edge of the blanket that’s under the head and neck so it supports the natural curve in the back of the neck.
- Allow palms to face up and relax your jaw so that the lips slightly part. Close your eyes and completely relax.
Stay in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. When you are ready to come out of the pose, deepen your inhale, and wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch out long, like a morning stretch, then hug knees in and roll to either side in a fetal position, resting there for a few breaths. When you are ready, use your hands to help press back up to a comfortable seated position.
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Images: Ariane Gampper