Place a bolster on the floor parallel to front legs of the chair. Fold a mat and put it on the seat. Sit on the chair backwards and bend legs over the back of the chair. Hold on to sides of chair. Lean trunk slightly back. Lower back on to the seat of the chair. Slide buttocks and back towards front edge of chair seat. Straighten one leg at a time. When both are straight, slide hands further down the back chair legs to increase the stretch of arms. Move shoulders away from ears and shoulder blades back to open and lift chest. Breathe normally and look towards the chest. Hold the pose for up to 5 minutes, keeping the back of the neck soft. Carefully rest shoulders on the bolster and the back of the head on the floor.Hold the back chair legs.
Left to right: Uttanasana I and Supta Virasana
With head lowered and head and forearms supported on a stool softened with a blanket, this posture allows more blood to flow to the brain, helping to relieve any discomfort. Increasing circulation will help to calm the mind and body. If the back is uncomfortable, or the hamstrings painful, increase the height of the support.
Place blankets and bolsters under spine, neck and head to allow back and knees to release. Place a
strap around legs and feet, feet together. Thighs are supported with rolled-up blankets. Sit on a foam block placed against bolster. Hold bolster against lower back and lie over bolster. Take arms out to side, palms facing up. Hold for 3-5 minutes.
Left to right: Adho Mukha Svanasana and Prasarita Padottanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
With head resting on a bolster, keep spine ascending to the ceiling even though the head is down. Move shoulders towards the front of the chest in order to broaden and create space in the chest cavity. This posture can also be done with the heels resting on a wall for balance.
A quiet, passive posture that allows the brain to stay calm. Feet wide, extend and lengthen spine forwards before taking the head towards the floor. Pay attention to feet in this posture. If they roll out to the side, extreme discomfort will be felt on the side of shin-bones, so ensure all four corners of the feet are pressing equally into the floor.
Healing with Yoga
Yoga & Pilates For Everyone (Hermes House) is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to mind-body fitness. When the body is tired and lethargic as a result of minor illness or injury, your regular yoga practice need not be discontinued. Even if you feel unable to follow your sequence of postures in the normal way, practising with props helps to improve posture and maintain balance, and allows you to stretch fully while experiencing a state of relaxation during practice. This feeling of peace and tranquillity is the beginning of the healing process.
Common sense should prevail when you are practising these adapted postures and the poses should be held for only as long as is comfortable. If difficulty is experienced with a programme, it is advisable to consult an experienced teacher.