Do you every think that in order to do yoga, your body has to be able to do something like this?...
Well if this makes your cringe and automatically hate yoga, stay with me here. Let me introduce you to restorative yoga. The body requires rest to restore, especially the pelvic floor. Restorative yoga is a type of practice that focuses on slowing down and opening the body through passive stretching. The focus of restorative poses are to allow the muscles of the body to rest with a slow and safe stretch. These postures allow a deep connection with the breathe.
I often hear from my patients, "I don't have time to stretch and breath". I know this means that that individual REALLY needs some restorative time. Allowing the body the opportunity to rest also helps the mind/body in recovery.
The pelvic floor has the vital functions of supporting our pelvic organs, maintaining continence, stabilization of the spine, and coordinates with the diaphragm for breathing.
To maintain resiliency of the pelvic floor, try these five restorative poses. When easing into these postures, be mindful of moving slowly into them. I recommend using pillows for added comfort, to allow the body to accept the support. Once in the postures, become aware of your breath- slowing it down and staying for at least 10-15 deep breaths before moving onto the next pose. If you feel discomfort with any of these poses, take note of the location and quality of the discomfort before slowly easing back out of the posture.
I recommend performing these stretches before going to bed in a dim and calming space.
On each inhalation feeling the rib cage expand while focusing the breath down and back in to the pelvis and lower abdomen- like you are gently filling a balloon in the pelvis.
On each exhalation, feeling the belly and pelvic floor softening- like the air is slowly deflating from the balloon in the pelvis.
Notice any differences from side to side. Become aware of your breath with each posture. Notice any subtle differences in how your body and mind feels before and after the sequence.
What you need: two pillows.
Optional: yoga mat.
Time: 15 - 20 minutes total (2-3 minutes in each posture)
1. Supportive Butterfly Pose
You will need two pillows. Place one pillow underneath each thigh to support the legs. Slowly allow gravity to lower the supported knees toward the pillows. You may feel a gentle stretch at the inner thigh muscles where they attach to the pelvis.
2. Happy Baby Pose
Laying on your back, bring your knees towards your chest and reach towards your toes, ankles or shins. Gently pull hands towards body to feel a slight connection from your feet to your hips and low back. You can stay static in this posture, or gently sway your body from side to side, massaging your low back.
3. Child's Pose
Start from a hands and knees position (optional pillow behind knees for added support). With knees slightly wider than hip width, ease the hips back over the heels. Option to keeps hands supported under the head, or extend arms forward away from the body for an added side body + shoulder stretch.
4. Pigeon Pose
Start from a hands and knees position. Slide one knee towards the same side shoulder and foot towards opposite shoulder. slowly lower your arms and torso towards the floor. Place a pillow under the gluteals and hip for added support. Option to stay up onto hands to ease the stretch. You may feel a gentle stretch at the back of the hip on the pillow side, and in the front of the hip on the opposite side.
5. Supported Wall Squat
Find yourself in a squat position against a wall with knees turned out from hips. Place a pillow between your heels/shins and gluteals for added support. Feel your back and shoulders supported against the wall, maintaining a neutral pelvis. To ease any pressure for your ankles, place a rolled up towel or pillow under your heels to add a supportive lift.
If you would like a PDF version of these 5 poses, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenn is a physical therapist specializing in orthopedic pelvic health rehabilitation & wellness. She obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher training through Zuna Yoga in 2017, as well as advanced training in prenatal/postpartum yoga therapeutics. Jenn utilizes yogic concepts daily in her practice including- restorative postures, pranayama/breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness based concepts.
Feel free to email Jenn with any feedback: email@example.com
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The information in this blog is for educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.