Have you been pushing yourself too far lately? Are you always feeling tired, maybe not eating as well as you know you can, not looking after yourself as well as you could? When you’ve become depleted, maybe even exhausted, that’s when it’s vital you stop and slow down. Pushing to get everything done may work for the task lists, but it won’t work for your overall wellbeing, and ultimately, you won’t be as productive in the long term until you give back to yourself with restoration.
Listen to your body, to what its needs are, and honour your body for all it has done for your life. Yes, thank your body, without criticism, thank your body for carrying you forward all these days. Next, take a gentle stroll in nature, listening for the bird song, looking out for the butterflies, enjoying the sun and clouds drifting across the sky, and notice the pace of the day in nature, away from the human pace of task lists. Breathe in the fresh air. Allow nature to help you re-set your pace and gain back your energy.
Next, practice this gentle, restorative yoga sequence. It is simple and can be done against a wall as shown, or inside your own home. If you have high blood pressure, do not elevate the legs like this. You can modify the poses by bringing the legs up a chair instead, or even less elevated, by lying down with legs raised slightly over bolsters or pillows. Discuss with your health practitioner how you can perform this pose safely for your blood pressure. Adjustments can always be done so you can receive the benefits of restoration. Practiced properly and under guidance of your health practitioner, this pose can bring immense healing to your life. If you know your blood pressure is low, come up very slowly from these poses.
Practice the first pose, Inverted Lake Pose 1, for five minutes a day to bring about renewed restful awareness, bodily detoxification and refreshed, balanced energy. Instead of that late afternoon sugar hit you may have been giving in to, or that extra of cup of coffee to get you through your day, stop, lie down against a wall or with legs up a chair, and relax. Your energy will become revitalised, your sympathetic nervous system response will relax and rebalance, your circulatory system will benefit, and your mind can let go. Isn’t that worth the time, to pause, relax and refresh before continuing with your task list? You may even find by doing so, you may even get more done, with less stress while you start to flow with greater ease through the day. So next time you notice you’re pushing through, go outside, breath in the day, connect with nature, then practice this series of the Inverted Lake pose, and flow with life. Kylie Terraluna x I
NVERTED LAKE (VIPARITA KARANI) POSE 1
Place a three-fold blanket or bolster at the wall, with a slight gap between the wall and the blanket. Sit on the edge of the blanket, with your right hip in contact with the wall. Maintaining the right hip and wall contact, slide body into a reclining position, lying with your back and head on the floor and legs raised up the wall. Hopefully your buttocks is touching or almost touching the wall by now. If this hasn’t happened and you find yourself a long way from the wall, it means you lost the connection of the hip, buttocks and wall contact when coming into the position, so come up and try again. Keep your buttocks touching the wall as you slide into the pose to make coming into position easier. Once there, rest your arms alongside your body, palms of the hands facing up, and bring raised legs together. Close your eyes and relax, while fresh oxygenated blood flushes through your heart and your entire system. Focus your mind on your breath, and consciously release the tension through the breath. Stay in the pose for a few minutes at least.
Note: Do not perform the full pose if you have high blood pressure. Please follow the advice of your medical practitioner, which may include raising your legs up a chair instead of the wall, or elevated legs on cushions instead.
INVERTED LAKE POSE 2
In Viparita Karani 1, separate your legs into a splits-like position as shown, resting your legs on the wall. Check that your hips are parallel by looking at the position of your feet, and adjust so your feet are in line with each other. Straighten legs to wall, soften tummy, close eyes and relax again. Breathe. Stay here for a few minutes more, focusing on the breath.
INVERTED LAKE POSE 3
Next, bring your feet together with knees apart and towards the wall as shown. You can gently press your hands against your thighs to further guide your legs towards the wall. Relax. After a few moments, bring legs back into the initial position of straight legs together in Inverted Lake Pose 1, before gently releasing out of the pose.
To finish, lie flat for a few moments. Moving very slowly, roll your body to your right side, and stay there for a moment or two, with eyes closed. Slowly come up to a sitting position. Close your eyes again, give thanks for the restoration provided, note the state of your mind and mindfully continue on with your day.
Kylie Terraluna is a yoga, health and lifestyle feature writer and health journalist. Kylie teaches private yoga and wellness coaching sessions, with home visits along the hills to hawkesbury region and sometimes beyond. She also runs private retreats. Kylie is the Health & Wellbeing feature writer for the Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine. For more, visit kylieterraluna.com.au.