On the fourth day of Christmas, yoga gave to me... a supportive shape to ease my body into a state of rest and rejuvenation.
This is such a beautiful posture and one of my go-to restorative poses when I want to feel supported and held whilst encouraging a full, soft breath.
This shape allows us to passively open the chest and assists in reversing all of the forward folding we do on a day-to-day basis (eg. being sat at our desk on our computers, looking down at phones, driving, carrying heavy bags on our shoulders etc.).
When we use cushions, blankets, yoga blocks and other props to support the body, we allow our muscles, joints, bones and skin to relax by yielding to the support.
This pose is also a wonderful way to recalibrate our nervous system, moving us towards the para-sympathetic state ("Rest & Digest") where a releasing of tension can unfurl.
I have shown the posture using cushions from around the house and a pillow wrapped in a blanket as a bolster to demonstrate that you do not need any special equipment in order to come into he posture.
TIPS TO SET YOU UP FOR RECLINED BADDHA KONASANA
Pop a couple of cushions beneath the top of your bolster or yoga blocks in a slightly staggered way so as you can rest your bolster on a slightly angle.
Sit against the base of the bolster, but not on it and slowly lower your back onto it. If you feel your neck is flexed or as though your chin is slightly sticking out, you can place a small folded blanket or cushion under the back of your head.
Bring the soles of your feet together and have a cushion to place under each thigh to catch the legs so as you are not in any way stretching the inner groin or hip area (remember we are not looking to stretch here but to rest and yield) . You may also like to place a cushion under the forearms and or wrists so they also feel supported.
I often use an eye pillow over my eyes which can help bring the relaxation factor to a whole other level - I highly recommend it!
Stay in this shape for at least 5 minutes but preferably longer if you can.
To come out, take your hands under your knees and slowly draw your knees in and place the soles of your feet flat on your mat. Take a couple of slow grounding breaths before carefully rolling onto your side and bringing yourself up to a seated posture. Take a few smooth deep breaths here.