Supta Baddha Konasana, the queen of restorative yoga poses creates an instant state of relaxation for the mind, body and spirit. But correctly setting up the props can be tricky.
Using props to support the body, this restful pose helps to open the hips, groin, abdomen and heart space, and creates a nurturing cradle like effect for the body. By opening the front of the body, the breath begins to slow down and deepen, helping to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). This pose provides a stretch for the inner thighs and opens the hips, enhancing blood circulation to all of the reproductive organs, which can relieve menstrual cramps, and is a wonderful pose for fertility and pregnancy.
Accessible to most people, this pose is great for anyone who is feeling tired, stressed, and burnt out or if you simply want to relax and let go of the day.
Set up two blocks at the top of the mat in a T-Shaped format, with the top block on the medium height and the bottom block on the lowest height. Place a bolster over the blocks and then one blanket over the bolster with about 20cm overhanging the base of the bolster, and another blanket at the top of the bolster for a pillow. Bring another blanket to double stack size and roll along the long edge to create a long roll for the feet. Fold 2 stack size blankets to half stack size length ways, making 2 rectangular blankets for the arms, place them either side of the bolster in line with your arms.
Sit on the blanket at the base of the bolster. Bring the soles of the feet together and place the rolled up blanket over the tops of the feet. Hold on to the ends of the blanket as you recline back and lay on to the bolster, tucking the blanket under your legs to support the knees and the hips. Put your eye pillow on, place your arms on the blankets with the palms facing up and get ready to relax!!
Make any adjustments you need before coming in to stillness. Take a scan through the body, starting at the crown of the head and working your way down to the toes, notice if you are holding on to any tension. Use the exhale to release any tension out into the earth.
Begin to connect with the breath, simply observing the rise and fall of the abdomen. You may notice the breath naturally begin to lengthen and deepen as you activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Hold the pose for at least 5 minutes. Try to stay connected with the breath, expanding and receiving with each inhale, softening and letting go with each exhale, feeling the body relax with each breath.
When you are ready to come out of the pose, bring your hands under your legs and draw the knees together, and slowly roll over to the right side. Take a few steadying breaths, and then press in to the left palm and slowly roll yourself up to sit, bringing the head up last so that you’re not straining through the neck.
Contraindications: This pose is accessible to most people, however if you have sore knees or hips, keep the legs extended. If you have a sore lower back, place another folded blanket at the base of the bolster, or use a second bolster to increase the height.
Benefits: Opens the hips, groin, abdomen, chest and pelvis. Increases circulation and can relieve menstrual cramps. Helps to restore energy, calm the mind and promote sleep.