Yoga Journal - - ANATOMY -

Place 2 blocks side by side near the foot of your mat with a rolled-up blan­ket on top. If you wish, you may add a bol­ster for ex­tra leg sup­port and a blan­ket, for soft­ness, un­der your heels. Sit fac­ing the blocks, and slowly lower to the floor, mind­fully rest­ing your knees atop the roll with your feet hip-width apart. For ad­di­tional head sup­port, place a blan­ket or folded towel un­der your head and a rolled-up towel be­neath your neck. Rest your arms at your sides—or on your belly with el­bows on the floor. Once you’re com­fort­able, take sev­eral long breaths, pro­gres­sively re­leas­ing all of your body weight into the ground. Re­lax here. For the last minute of the pose, bring your hands to your belly and feel your palms re­ceive your breath. Imag­ine your breath loos­en­ing and soft­en­ing any lin­ger­ing hard­ness in your body. To exit, slowly draw your knees to­ward your belly, and roll onto one side, mak­ing a pil­low un­der your head with one of your arms. Re­lax on your side for 1 minute, then mind­fully press up to a com­fort­able seated po­si­tion.

The ben­e­fits In Full Re­lax­ation Pose, we can prac­tice lis­ten­ing to the breath and notic­ing the way it ten­derly meets ev­ery­thing it comes into con­tact with. Imag­ine the way your dear­est friend would lis­ten to you if you needed kind sup­port and at­ten­tion. Most of us do not lis­ten to our­selves with this level of care. This is im­por­tant to con­sider in a restora­tive prac­tice be­cause once you be­gin to re­lax, it’s not un­usual for things to start bub­bling up—feel­ings or sen­sa­tions that ten­sion has tried to pro­tect you from. Once you be­gin to un­furl those knots, it’s im­por­tant to com­pas­sion­ately lis­ten to, and ob­serve, what’s be­ing re­leased. A lis­ten­ing prac­tice be­gins with mak­ing the choice to re­lax with what­ever comes up in your body, mind, and heart. It means choos­ing to re­ceive—in a non­judg­men­tal way—what­ever your ten­sion has been shield­ing you from. It means open­ing up, over and over, to any­thing you may dis­cover, with­out feel­ing the need to cri­tique, fix, or change.

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