Avoid Burn Out
Do you ever have that moment where you walk into a room and wonder why you’re there? What is it that you were looking for? How about that moment where making a choice seems to be impossible and you just want to sit down and cry? Or my favorite - everything you try just seems to fall apart at the seams.
Our plate is more than full and yet we feel that there is no choice but to keep going. As we keep going and dropping things along the way, we keep our fingers crossed that nothing will break, but it usually does. We can only juggle so much at a time. Pushing so hard makes us more susceptible to breaking down ourselves - maybe through illness, great fatigue, or lack of inspiration.
This is a signal that we have pushed beyond our limits and are moving into distress. We become so stretched, it’s impossible to do anything well.
At this point I question, how can I keep moving forward in a graceful manner?
Taking a break to prioritize what’s most important can be helpful. One of the best things we can do, to avoid breaking down and getting sick, is to listen to that deep cry coming from within. That cry that tells us to rest, pause, and heal.
What can we do? Or better yet, how can we “be”?
Chill Out with Restorative Yoga
There is a practice called Restorative Yoga. It is designed to help us when we are feeling exhausted, overworked, distressed, and uninspired. These are yoga poses that help us rest and relax deeply. We are supported by props, there is no effort, no movement, and we have an opportunity to calm the mind. We can even do these poses when we are recovering from an illness or a great sadness.
So this restorative yoga, what’s it all about?
It’s a practice of deliberate stillness. We lie down over a set of props (blankets, pillows, yoga blocks, or belts), and we allow the physical body to settle. Tension and stress in the muscles start to melt away. We tune in to the rhythm of our breath and allow the sound of the breath to bring us more inward. We become more aware of our thoughts. And using the breath we can release the thoughts that no longer serve us, allowing them to float to the sun. And then visualize the beautiful golden light of the sun washing over us and filling us with that wonderful feeling of warmth and love.
I would love to share with you one of my favorite restorative poses. It’s great to do on those days where long hours were spent sitting or standing.
Legs Up The Wall
This a gentle inversion pose where the legs are higher than the heart. Listed below are 5 different ways you can try this pose at home. From a very simple form with only the wall as a prop to using many yoga props.
I have videos for getting into and out of this pose at the bottom of the post! Check it out :)
Getting Into the Pose
Sit sideways, with your right hip and shoulder, next to a wall. Lean back on your elbows and slowly swing your legs up the wall as you maneuver your torso onto the floor.
Your hips can be very close to the wall if the backs of your legs feel nice and open. If you feel tension in the back of your legs, scooch away from the wall a few inches until you feel completely comfortable.
Rest here anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Listen to your body and come out of the pose when you’re ready. If you’re new to this, 5 minutes will be more than enough.
Come down the same way you went up into the pose. Bend your legs, roll to your side. Pause on your side for a few breaths. Then slowly come up to seated.
- Fold a blanket or two and place them a few inches in front of the wall.
- Sit on the blanket with your right hip and shoulder next to the wall.
- Lean back and swing your legs up the wall.
- Your sit bones can hang over the edge of the blanket slightly.
- You should feel completely comfortable and at rest.
- Get into legs up the wall, as described above.
- Bend your legs into a simple cross legged position.
- Have blocks or books handy and prop one on either side of your hips.
- Widen your legs and allow them to rest on the blocks.
- I have a video below to show you how to wrap the belt around your legs.
- The benefit of the belt is that you can relax your legs even more and allow the belt to hold them in place.
- Start by lying down flat on the floor with bent legs.
- Lift your hips and slide a block underneath your sacrum.
- Your sit bones will hang slightly over the edge of the block.
- This pose is a little more work than legs up the wall.
- Remember you should feel completely comfortable. If you don't, come down carefully out of the pose.
Legs Up the Wall - no props, just wall
Legs Up the Wall with belt
Benefits of Legs Up The Wall
Revives Tired Legs
Simply taking the pressure off of your feet and legs and propping them up the wall will bring a relief. Notice how the tension in the muscles slowly releases when you are no longer using them to hold you upright.
Reduces Water Retention and Swelling Around Ankles
The effects of gravity are reversed as you go into this gentle inversion. Any fluids that have been collecting around the ankles and legs are released. Your legs feel energized and lighter when you come out of the pose.
Calms the Nervous System
You have an opportunity to move into a deep state of rest and rhythmic breathing. Your body will move from being on edge and over stimulated to a place of deep rest. You’ll feel the all tension and distress melting away.
Quiets the Mind and Reduces Anxiety
Being held in a safe position and moving into a deep rest enables us to take a look at the thoughts moving across the landscape of our mind. We are in the moment and paying attention. We now have the ability to let go of the thoughts that are not serving our highest. Release them in a balloon and let them float to the sun.
After staying in the pose for an extended time, 5-20 minutes, you will notice your breath has become more even in nature. The extra thoughts that had cluttered your mind have dissolved. And you have more energy from this deep rest. The mental fog will have cleared and solutions become more visible.
I invite you to try this pose and in one word describe what it felt like. You can comment below on this post or over on my facebook site www.facebook.com/irenakmiller. I look forward to hearing from you!
Have a wonderful practice!