Restorative Classes at the Reef House
Restorative Classes at the Reef House
With the pace of living these days, its often hard to find time to be breathe deeply. The effects of shallow breathing has many effects on our body and particularly on our nervous system, which believes that we must be in danger.
Over a period of time the body and mind is in a constant state of tension or ‘fight or flight’ mode. This naturally has a detrimental effect on how we feel. We are wired but tired and we lack the deep comfort that comes with being in a state of ease and rest. We also age must faster when in this ‘adrenal’ state.
What are Adrenals?
So what do the adrenals have to do with this? Well put simply, our adrenals produce adrenaline and cortisol and over a long period of tension and stress our adrenals quite literally become fatigued, because instead of fighting or taking flight on the occasional basis, our everyday lives are calling upon our adrenals just to survive the pace of life. As you can imagine this is not at all ideal for our mind or our body.
One of the most profound ways to unwind this tension and support the adrenals is through the simple practice of restorative yoga.
Restorative Yoga at the Reef House - Supta Baddha Konasana
Here at the Reef House we offer a weekly afternoon class to help our guests really make the most of their holiday, as well as to learn a technique that will be greatly beneficial for practicing at home. While there are many poses, there is one very well known pose or ‘asana’, which is called Supta Badha Konasana.
Supta Baddha Konasana is a passive, supported pose, which is very restorative for the nervous system and thereby supports recovery from adrenal fatigue. It allows the body to relax and receive the healing effects of yoga, including quieting the mind and increasing circulation to the organs without working the muscles. The benefits of the pose include hip and chest opening, low back release, relaxation, relief from PMS and menopausal symptoms, relief from mild depression and an increase of vitality and energy flow in digestive organs and pelvic area.
Undistracted by the need to hold ourselves forcibly in a pose, we can put our full awareness into sensing exactly what we are feeling deep inside.
Supta Baddha Konasana is especially useful for pregnant women as it gently opens the hips in preparation for childbirth, releases tension in the spine, deepens the breath, and encourages blood flow to the uterus. For women trying to conceive, this pose is a great way to create space both physically and mentally in order to prepare for conception.
By practicing Supta Baddha Konasana, you begin to understand, in an embodied way, the true value of self-care. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to stop overextending, to stop being goal oriented, and to stop thinking we have to take care of everything right now. Let the laundry wait, commit to one less engagement, and instead schedule time to take care of yourself. And when you reengage with your active agenda, you will be more efficient, and happier, too.
How to Restore
- Gather a few blankets, towels, and/or pillows and come to your mat. These props will be used to support your body in this relaxation pose. Roll up a thick towel or blanket and place it lengthwise along the mat. This will support your back during the pose and provide a nice opening sensation for your front body. Come to sit with your back about an inch away from the bottom of the rolled blanket (giving a bit of space to your lumbar spine or lower back).
- Next, bend your knees in front of you so that your feet are on the mat about a foot in front of your seat. Let your feet touch and your knees unfold to the sides of the mat, the palms of your feet facing each other. Place a prop or two (try to make sure they are similar height and consistency) under each thigh, at about where the thigh meets the knee. To come into the pose, slowly come to lie down on the blanket, letting it support the middle of your back along your spine. You can play with the height and placement of the props until you find the most comfortable position for you; also feel free to place a small pillow under your head for a slight elevation. Let your arms come by your sides with your palms face up.
- Let your breath be natural and easy. Feel free to use any calming mantra that may help you to relax. Taking a few initial deep breaths may help you melt into a state of relaxation. In this open and receptive position, take a few deep, conscious breaths. Notice the breath in your back as your lungs expand against the bolster. Feel the breath through the right side of your body and through the left side. Feel it in the front of your body, flowing from the bottom of your lungs all the way up to your collarbones. Now, taking one more breath, inhale equally into all those places, and exhale evenly out of all those places, noticing how you feel. Now let go, and stop trying to do anything.
- Let your face soften, your jaw release, and your eyes close. Let the layers of tension unravel. Draw your attention inward. Focus especially on the feelings in your heart and belly--both physical and emotional. With gentle, spacious attention, allow these feelings to shift and grow as big as they want to.
- When it feels right (you can stay in the pose for 5 to 20 minutes), slowly roll off of the blanket behind your back and onto your right or left side for a brief moment in the fetal position. Use your arm strength to push you back up to seated letting your head be the last thing to come up. Take a few moments to feel the effects of the pose.
Listen to your body’s internal instinct and feel free to remove any of the props or adjust them if they are not right for you today. After around week 20 of your pregnancy, it is recommended that you not lie flat on your back for a long period of time. Increase the elevation of your back and head after week 20 by placing several pillows or bolsters under your back so that you are on an incline.
Treat yourself to rejuvenation at the Reef House - click here to view rates & availability.