The holidays bring busy schedules full of fun, family, and long evenings out.

 

They can also leave you feeling tired, worn out, and needing some recovery time. It’s why a lot of people can’t make it into the studio during the holiday season.

 

But that’s also why it’s a smart idea to have some go-to yoga poses in your back pocket.

 

So your practice doesn’t have to suffer the consequences of one too many nogs…

 

The restorative poses we suggest here (demonstrated by our own Margo Peña) relax the mind and target the major muscles of the body. They’re gentle but effective.

 

This routine can be done for 30 minutes or so in the morning or evening (or whenever you can!). Preferably two or more hours from food.

Yoga Gives You Stability When Your Life Gets Hectic

 

A little yoga pays off for your wellbeing.

 

Just two 90-minute sessions a week is shown to significantly lower cortisol (the stress hormone) in the bloodstream.

 

But remember you overcommiters out there: be realistic and don’t set the bar too high for your home practice.

 

You don’t need to do a full class every day at home. 30 minutes of yoga is better than nothing and will keep your body limber and your studio practice on track.

 

And don’t forget to do some meditation.

 

Researchers found that people who regularly meditated at home had less psychological stress, slept better, and rated their health better than those who didn’t meditate.

 

Do a short meditation after this sequence for added effect!

The Sequence: 7 Restorative Yoga Poses for Whole Body Relaxation

Caution: These poses may not be appropriate for everyone. Listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain, are injured, have doubt, or are unable to perform a pose. Consult your health care provider before practicing and get assistance from a qualified instructor at the studio.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

 

1. Marjariasna + Bitilasana (Cat + Cow Poses)

  • Come into tabletop position, face looking toward the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your knees hip-width apart under your hips.
  • On the inhale, lift your chin and look forward. Push your tailbone up and your navel down for a light backbend.
  • On the exhale, bring your chin to your chest, pushing your abs toward your spine, arching your back as much as you can.
  • Come back to a neutral and relaxed tabletop position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

2. Salamba Baddha Konasana (Supported Reclined Butterfly/Cobbler’s Pose)

  • Come to a seated position in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle/Butterfly). Start with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly bend your knees to bring the soles of your feet together.
  • Exhale and recline over a support — like a rolled blanket, bolster, or firm pillows — positioned at your low back.
  • Position two pillows or yoga blocks under your thighs to support your hips and let your weight fall into them.
  • Let your head relax onto another support under your head, if you’d like. Lay your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  • Breathe gently and deeply into your belly and let your body rest into the supports.
  • Stay here for a few minutes — start with 2 or 3 minutes and work up to 10 or more.
  • Roll on to either side, rest for several breaths, then come to a seated position.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

3. Salamba Supta Virasana (Supported Reclined Hero’s Pose)

  • Come to sitting on your heels. If you are unable to sit on your heels keep your legs out straight.
  • Position bolsters behind you like a staircase. Keep them close to your tailbone.
  • Sink your buttocks between your ankles.
  • Recline and drape your back over the bolsters. Keep your knees parallel and close to the ground — do NOT let your knees splay out to the sides.
  • Let your arms come out to your sides at an angle that feels comfortable.
  • Breathe and stay in the pose for about a minute. Eventually you can stay up to 5 minutes.
  • Come out of the pose by using your hands to push yourself back up to a seated position.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

4. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)

  • Find a support that’s thicker if you’re more flexible, thinner if you’re stiffer.
  • a) Position your support. Taller and stiffer people should stay farther from the wall. Shorter and more flexible people closer to the wall. b) Alternative: If you have tension in the backs of your legs or low back, you can position your legs over the seat of a couch with knees bent. This will encourage the muscles in your hamstrings and low back to relax.
  • With your buttocks close to the wall (or couch) and knees bent, lay on your side with your lower body on the right side of your support.
  • On an exhale lift your legs up the wall or on to the couch. Adjust the support as needed by pushing your heels into the wall or couch and lifting your pelvis.
  • Place a rolled towel under your neck if you’d like.
  • Lay your arms by your sides, palms up. Breathe, and stay in the pose between 5–15 minutes.
  • Lift your tailbone and remove your bolster.
  • Roll to either side, knees bent, and rest for several breaths. Push yourself up to a seated position.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

5. Jathara Parivartanasana (Simple Supine Twist)

  • Lay on the floor in Savasana — flat on your back with palms up.
  • Draw your knees toward your chest and bring your arms parallel with your shoulders.
  • Let your knees drop to your right side, level with your pelvis.
  • Stretch your left arm outward.
  • Relax, feel the stretch, breathe, and hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Lift your knees back up to center and repeat on the left side.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

6. Ardha Apanasana (Knee to Chest)

  • Lay on the floor in Savasana — flat on your back with palms up.
  • Bend your right knee toward your chest and interlace your fingers below the knee.
  • Gently pull your right knee toward your right armpit. Try to keep your knee pulling more toward the center of your body and not outward.
  • Breathe into the belly and relax your chest and shoulders. Ground your tailbone into the floor.
  • Hold for a minute or two.
  • Release the right leg and repeat on the left side.

Restorative Yoga at Longevita Pilates & Yoga Studio

 

7. Salamba Savasana (Supported Resting/Corpse Pose)

  • Lay on the floor in Savasana — flat on your back with palms up.
  • Place a bolster under your knees.
  • Let your mind and body completely relax — let your feet and legs fall to the sides, relax any tension in your muscles, let your eyes and face soften. Mind focused on the breath.
  • Rest here for 5–10 minutes.
  • Remove the bolster and start to slowly move your body starting with wrists and ankles.
  • Roll to either side, breathe, and slowly return to a seated position.

 

Conclusion

Our goal is to give you the tools to live a life full of energy and love.

 

We hope you add a yoga sequence like this to your schedule when you can’t make it into the studio.

 

And especially during the busy holiday season.

 

At the very least, find a couple of poses that really resonate with you and stick with them.

 

And if you want to delve deeper into yoga and spreading it to others, we’re hosting a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. It starts on January 18th, 2019 and runs through June 2019.

 

Margo will lead the restorative portion of the training — she’s excited to meet everyone who’s committed to learning, growing, and healing in our community.

 

Always remember to do what feels right and your body will take care of the rest!

 

What do you do when you miss class at the studio? Do you practice yoga at home or have other activities you enjoy? Let us know in the comments below!