Humans are accident-prone creatures. We break, we bruise, we cut and scrape. At some point in your life, you will undoubtedly injure yourself. When that happens, don’t write off exercise entirely! You may not be able to run laps or lift weights, but you can keep your muscles engaged and your body strong while you recover. Many dedicated yogis started out as regular people who suffered from a debilitating injury or chronic pain, then found relief in asanas.
You may have heard of a specific type of yoga offered in studios that are geared towards those in recovery – restorative yoga. This type of practice is gentle, slow, and involves many props to help you modify and adjust in any way you need. You should still tell your teacher about any injuries you have, but you can rest assured that this class will not be as physically demanding as most others. Restorative yoga poses to keep you on the ground and focus on breathing, stretching, and releasing tension.
If you are struggling with pain or injury, try a few of these gentle poses:
Legs Up the Wall
Lie on your back with your legs propped up against a wall and a bolster or thick blanket under your lower back. Get your sit bones close to the wall, about an inch or so away. You want your legs to be almost completely vertical. Lay here for about five minutes. If you need to, you can place a pillow under your head to encourage complete relaxation. This pose is good for gently stretching the back legs, neck, and providing backache relief.
Modified Child’s Pose
Regular Child’s pose has you rest on your knees while sitting back on your heels, but the modified version incorporates a bolster under your torso and blanket under your upper thighs. You can also either stretch your arms out in front of you or let them rest at your sides. Your whole torso should be resting on the bolster for added support to the back. Child’s pose gently stretches the back and neck, relaxing your body.
Reclined Bound Angle
Lie back on a bolster, but keep your sit bones on the mat. Bring the soles of your feet together so that your knees are pointed out to the sides. Set a couple of bolsters or blankets underneath your knees if you can’t bring them all the way to the floor. This is a nice gentle stretch for tight hips and a way to relieve back pain.
Lie on your back with your arms out at your sides, palms facing up. Spread out your legs slightly, giving each limb its own space. The corpse pose is a recovery pose, so let your body relax and melt into the floor. Place a pillow under your head if you need extra support.