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Restorative and pranayama to strengthen your foundations

A restorative session teaching us to focus on the breath and its effects on the body.

Contents

Introduction

Video sequence description

This sequence is intended to allow for rest in the body and the mind. It requires very little energy, but brings the practitioner to a good, open and relaxed feeling both mentally and physically.

Step by step sequence guide

Start of in Supta Baddhakonasa, lying over a bolster, with a belt and head support as needed.

Come up and go forward, resting the forehead onto the chair seat, using support for the buttocks.

Now come up and using a bolster or blankets for the head, do Adho Mukha Svanasana (dog pose) with the thumb and index fingers to the wall, palms flat, and rest first the crown of the head, and then the forehead onto the bolster to quieten the eyes and the mind.

Release down to Forward Virasana.

Come to sitting and set up in Virasana with support under the buttocks as needed.

Go through a few arm variations to release any tension in the neck and shoulders: Parvatasana, Garudasana arms, and full Gomukhasana arms, using a belt if you can’t clasp the hands behind you.

Then turn to the right and then the left for twisting in Virasana.

Release and set up in Baddhakonasana with bolster support and the back right up agains the wall. This is followed by Upavisthakonasana, also with the back to the wall.

Now set up for cross-bolsters, as a replacement for Sirsasana. Take extra blankets for each bolster and see that the head is tilted backwards, without straining the neck. Release by sliding back to bring the head, shoulders and buttocks to the floor. Rest the legs in simple X leg to the bolster, or just resting onto the bolster support.

Follow the cross-bolsters with “T” shape Setu Bandha, with the feet hip width apart, using a belt around the outer edges of the feet to allow the legs to be straight but restful.

Finally, set up for Viparita Karani, with two bolsters or one bolster and a few blankets to get good height for the buttocks. Place a folded blanket under the head and neck.
After some time, bend the legs to simple X legs, and then slide all the way down to bring the buttocks down to the floor, resting the legs to the bolsters, having changed the X leg.

To finish, go to simple cross-leg bringing the forehead and arms to rest onto the bolsters. Change the cross-leg and then set up for a quiet Savasana. Notice how the nerves may now feel quieter and your general mood more mellow.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Restorative and pranayama to strengthen your foundations
Hero Pose
Fold your legs under you with your heels on either side of your buttocks. Keep your back straight, avoid sinking forward or back. This pose is to be avoided if you lack mobility in your knee joints due to injuries. Cross your legs instead or assume the Baddha Konasana position.
Parvatasana in Virasana
Mountain Pose in Hero Pose
Sit in Virasana, stretch your arms out in front of you, and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms outward and, keeping your shoulders down and ribs in neutral, extend your arms upward.
Garudasana
Eagle Pose
Sit your hips back into Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Cross one leg over the other and balance. Then, cross your arms at the elbows so that both your pinkies are pointing forwards. Then try to lift your hands to capacity while keeping your shoulders level and chest open.
Gomukhasana Arms
Cow Face Pose
Extend your left arm up and the right one down. Bend your elbows and reach your hands toward each other from behind. If clasping them is not possible, use a belt or strap. Pull your elbows in opposite directions. Repeat on both sides.
Simple Cross Legs Twist
Sit with your legs crossed and back straight. Place your hand onto the opposing knee and, staying tall through the crown of your head, look over your shoulder as you twist.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Upavistha Konasana
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Use support under buttocks if your inner groins roll backward. Kneecaps and all ten toes face the ceiling. Keep your hands by your by hips, fingers pointing forwards. Lengthen your spine. Once you have mastered these foundations, you can also bend forward while reaching your feet with your hands. Use a belt if necessary.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up against it so that they're perpendicular to the floor. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.