September 17, 2014

#20 "Yoga Minute" Restorative Backbend with Towel

I'm changing to a floor pose this week to mix it up a little.

"Restorative Backbend with Towel" is a favorite Restorative with my students. Once in the pose you expel no energy but has many benefits.

I'm demoing with a towel in the video but I'm referring to a blanket. My brain is stuck in the classroom where we use indian blankets as props. Everyone has a towel so thats why I'm using a towel in todays video.

Begin by rolling the towel into a size that is comfortable for you. For those with more flexibility you can roll the towel completely like I have done. If that is too high putting you into an uncomfortable backbend you can just make as many rotations in rolling the towel to get the height you like. The rest of the towel will be flat on the floor.

Next take your time lying down with the towel under your heart and your arms above the towel in a T. Most of you will not need a pillow under the head. The neck should be in line with the spine. Since the spine is lifted into a mini backbend the upper spine has an angle toward the floor and you want the neck at the same angle as the spine (in line). If you have scoliosis or some other type of back issue; you will use a pillow or blanket under the head to give you the proper height to align the neck for your comfort. Notice how the body feels and make adjustments and get comfortable. If it bothers your lower back, bend the knees with the soles of the feet on the floor or put a pillow or rolled blanket under the knees.

Now the easy part, just lye there relaxed with a long slow breath. You should work up to 3 minutes then to 5 minutes holding the pose. Of course if your body is telling you something different, listen!

To come out of the pose slowly bend the knees one at a time and gently roll to the right side if that side is comfortable for you. Pull the towel out and lye back down for about 20 seconds then come to standing.

Benefits: This pose gives a mild back bend countering what I call the 3 Cs (car, computer & couch). All day we tend to be in a forward bend in most things we do that include eating, reading, 3 Cs and more. This will help align the back after forward bending throughout your day. It also opens the chest bringing in more breath into the body which gives your body more oxygen.

I had a teacher tell me she has a rolled towel next to her bed and when the alarm goes off she hits the snooze button and places the towel under the heart as discussed above until the snooze goes off. She has begun her day with an aligned spine and her chest open bringing in more oxygen. Generally if you can open the chest bringing in more breath it will continue the rest of the day without you giving it any attention.

Align the spine and open the chest to receive more oxygen helping you with fatigue.

These videos are designed for inactive beginners, seniors and people with most any illness or injury. I’ll also will be posting these videos on my You Tube Channel “Yoga Chuck” and Facebook page “Real Yoga, LLC”. All poses should be a No Pain No Pain practice and avoid having discomfort. 

How long to hold the pose: If pain is above a 5 on a scale of 0-10, then only hold the pose 10-15 seconds, you can repeat this multiple times. If your pain level is 5 or lower you can hold the pose 30 seconds to 1 minute. Listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Explanation: If you’re pain level is above a 5 then the muscles are actually tightening to protect themselves, so you will no longer be stretching them. This is why you should come in and out of the pose multiple times in order to get a stretch with pain level above a 5.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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