19 Nov My favorite restorative yoga pose: Supta Bharadvajasana
Last Sunday evening, I took a restorative yoga with hot stones workshop with Birmingham instructor (and former Asheville resident) Kim Drye. We only did three poses that night, one of them my favorite restorative yoga pose – Supta Bharadvajasana. But, what a difference it made for my Monday morning. Rather than succumbing to the Sunday Blues and wishing for an 8th day of the week, I woke up Monday feeling truly rested and ready to jump into my week.
Supta Bharadvajasana has been my go-to restorative pose for almost as long as I’ve been practicing yoga. I remember being told at one time that Mr. Iyengar, one of the great geniuses of restorative work, developed this pose for HIV/AIDS patients. I don’t know if that’s true or just another story for the legend of Iyengar, but, I know, for me, this pose works wonders. It relieves jet lag, soothes my nerves, releases my tight quadratus lumborum, nurtures the actual tissue of my heart, and generally makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.
That being said, it’s not everyone’s favorite. Large-chested women, for instance, tend not to love it so much, but can find comfort in it, if they elevate the chest more. And if you try this pose, and it doesn’t soothe you, there’s nothing wrong with you or the pose. It simply means you have to find another pose that does feel completely yummy. Just find the pose you like and practice it, because we all need to feel rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. Because the more relaxed we are, the better we are at everything. The great yogi, Bill Murray, said that.
Getting into the pose
Gather up a bolster or several blankets folded to create a bolster as well as possibly a blanket to put under your head, under your top knee or perhaps over you to keep you cozy.
Start sitting with your left hip next to the short end of the bolster and swing your legs to the right, resting the feet in whatever manner feel comfortable and relaxed to you.
Turn towards your bolster and place a hand on either side. Press down through your hands, lengthen your front body, and tuck the left hip under you and away from the bolster.
Lower down onto the bolster, adding whatever additional height is necessary to keep the spine parallel to the ground and you feeling relaxed. Here’s where my more endowed yoginis might want to add extra blankets.
Turn your head whichever direction feels most comfortable and breathe.
Stay for as long as you’d like before changing sides. I sometimes stay on each side for up to 20 minutes.
This pose is even better with hot stones on your hip and thoracic spine, like we did with Kim Drye.
Practice this pose next week or whenever you feel like the pressures of the holiday season start to build up or weigh down on you.
Set aside time on a weekly basis through the holidays to rest and recharge. Even just an hour on a Sunday for a nap, a restorative yoga pose, reading or getting outdoors can rejuvenate you and get you ready for the next event, next work day, and, like Bill Murray said, make you better at everything.