The weather is heating up, but you can still do yoga and cool down at the same time. This restorative sequence showcases my favourite prop - the bolster. The bolster can be used in many ways to support your body in various positions allowing for deep release of the muscles, connective tissue and joints. By sinking your weight completely into the bolster and the floor, use your breath to deepen the relaxation throughout your body and mind. If you don't have a bolster, you can use a stack of blankets.
These poses can be done in the order below or choose just a couple to finish your day to help transition into a peaceful evening and a restful sleep.
Supta baddha konasana
Bring the soles of the feet together and rest the legs onto the bolster, allowing the knees to drop out to side.
Rest one hand on the lower abdomen and one hand on the the upper abdomen. On the inhale feel the breath expanding into the upper abdomen and chest, exhale from the lower abdomen, drawing the belly back to the spine.
Stay here for 3 minutes focussing on the breath.
Ardha apanasana - psoas release
Bend the knees and lift the hips to slide the bolster to support the back of the hips. Draw the right knee into the chest and place the hands around the shin. The left leg can be bent with the foot on the floor or for a deeper stretch, extend the leg. Rest the shoulders into the floor. Each exhale focus on softening into the tight areas and draw the knee in closer. Stay for 2 minutes then swap.
Come to sitting, place the bolster beside the right hip. Lower your torso over the bolster so that the hip and shoulder rest on the floor on each side. Place a blanket to support the hip or shoulder if you need more height. To intensify the side stretch, take the top arm overhead. Focus on the breath moving up and expanding into the side ribs. Stay for 1-2 minutes. Rest in child's pose before coming to the other side.
Stretch out the whole of the back body with caterpillar. Extend the legs in front and fold the body toward the legs. Rest the head on the bolster. Surrender into the pose and turn the palms up toward the ceiling. Stay 3-5 minutes.
Focus on breathing into the back of the body, feeling the back ribs expand and soften with every breath.
Lie face down over the bolster, allow the thighs and feet to turn outward. Support the head with a block or blanket to keep the spine in one long line. Let the thighs sink into the bolster.
Stay here for 3- 5 minutes.
Deer pose with a twist
Come into a cross legged position. Bend the right knee and bring the foot to the left knee, bend the left knee and take the foot to the left hip. Place the bolster near the right hip and turn the torso to lie over the bolster. Rest the right ear to the bolster, or intensify the twist turning the head to rest the left ear. Stay for 3 minutes. Rest on your back before doing the other side.
Supported bridge pose
Place a block or book against a wall. Position the bolster and a folded blanket as per the image. Your shoulder blades should be off the bolster and resting on or towards the floor. This pose opens into the chest, upper back and shoulders.
Take the breath up into the chest, expanding the ribs in all directions. Stay here up to 5 minutes and finish on your back in savasana.