Saturday, July 9, 2011
Transitional / Intermediary Poses In Restorative Yoga
Copyright Lance Kinseth, Blissful Baby Pose, 2011
OFTEN, AS WE MOVE from one primary restorative pose to another, brief transitional or intermediary poses are utilized to sustain/optimize relaxation. One such pose is a Side Fetal Pose [or I have heard it termed “Blissful Baby”], involving turning to one side with knees bent and stacked, often the right side unless medically proscribed. In general yoga, this pose is commonly done after completing the final resting/integrating pose of savasana, in transition to a seated position to close the practice session. In may be done more frequently in restorative yoga, especially following a shift from a reclining pose [e.g. a supported bridge pose or supported reclining bound angle pose or supported legs-up-wall pose or supported happy baby] to a seated pose. A couple of breath cycles may be utilized in this pose. Support such as a blanket between the knees as well as covering with a blanket might be added.
Other transitional poses may involve apanasana, lying on back and bringing knees to chest [followed by rocking side-to-side and small circling of knees to massage lower back and sacrum and sides of hips, as well as imprinting the lumbar curve into the matt], or leaning back on both hands to counter a forward-bending pose, or a gentle [stressing movement of connective tissue vs. muscle] vinyasa sequence of cat-cow-child poses.
In transition, it may also be suggested that participants move slowly—“snail-like”—to sustain relaxation.
Reclining on back provides a relaxing state as physiology continues to calm, to listen to the body rather than do something, as well as provide an opportunity to shift into guided imagery that either explores body sensations [e.g., guided body scans} or intuitive responses. Transitional poses might be held longer and even become primary poses. Guided Imagery might be introduced, involving perhaps recall of an early childhood memory, meeting a teacher/healer, being in a favorite healing/relaxing place (either real or imagined), imaging the body as opening and/or energizing and/or as grounding more deeply with each breath or floating. Positive healing affirmations may be suggested as well as presenting concepts such as “thriving” vs. surviving, optimal health, and transformation, as well as one-word “themes” such as surrender, eloquence, oneness/wholeness, and kindness.