Top 5 Restorative Poses to Calm the Body and Mind

Reminder- You can perform each stretch statically, dynamically, and isometrically. Variety is key in functional fitness, so make sure you employ a variety of different ways in which you hold and perform each stretch. Although these are some of the best restorative available, there are many more that you should also employ. Remember to breathe and listen to your body first and foremost. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

1. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Begin standing, then fold your torso down over your legs until you feel a comfortable stretch in the hamstrings. You can bend the knees, or not, depending on how comfortable you feel bending down. Once here, allow the torso to hang free, concentrate on deep fluid breathing, and allow the power of this inversion to work its magic. This is one of the most simple, yet effective ways to get your head below your heart to refresh the mind with and influx of oxygen rich blood. This is one restorative pose you don't want to hold quite as long as the rest, so make sure to listen to your body and come out of the pose when you are ready.

2.  Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Buddhakonasana)

Take a seat on the ground, then bring the soles of your feet to touch in front of you, allowing the knees to drop open to the sides. Once your hips are comfortable, help yourself down onto your back. Keep the soles of the feet together and the knees splayed open, while you allow the upper body to rest on the earth. If you need a pillow or blanket to stay comfortable or warm, props are always a wonderful option to get more out of restorative poses. You can stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes or up to 10-20 minutes if you are feeling up to it.

3. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

Sit parallel to a wall with your knees bent into the chest. Some practitioners may need to be further from or closer to the wall, depending on your hamstrings, and back. Lay onto your side, and as you roll onto your back, gently kick the legs up the wall in one fluid motion. Remember to move with intention and not rush the entrance or the exit of this pose. Once the legs are up the wall, try some different variations, from having your legs spread wide, to the bound angle legs and find what feels nice. For most people, spending 3-7 minutes here helps to significantly calm the body.

4. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

One of the most simple postures in yoga, but also one of the most complex. Lie down on your back, and breathe. The rest is up to you. What you experience on the journey of being with your thoughts is unique to you, bask in the experience.

5. Seated Meditation (Sukhasana, Siddhasana, or Padmasana)

Much like savasana, sitting in seated meditation can be considered the pinnacle of a strong yoga practice. But for so many, this pose presents the ultimate challenge. Find a seat, however you need to get comfortable, whether that is cross legged, legs extended, lotus pose, or sitting on a chair. Once you have arrived, allow the body to still completely, breathe and be.

Enjoy these phenomenal restorative yoga poses,

-Andrew Morris