A colleague of mine, incredible visual artist and yoga teacher, Jen Van de Pol, the person who began my evening ritual of tulsi-rose tea, offered this collection of restorative poses to help combat this constant, ever-growing exhaustion.
I hope you can, as I have, rest into it to find relief.
The Four Bs (bolsters, blankets, blocks, and belts) help open the body to deep relaxation. By Marla Apt http://yoganga.com/articles/fatigue-relief/
SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
"Place a bolster vertically a few inches behind you and sit in front of it with your knees bent. Fold a blanket on the other end of the bolster for your head. Bend your knees to the sides and join the soles of your feet together. Tie a large loop through a belt and slip it over your head and around your lower back. Pull the loop in front of you over your toes and underneath your feet so that the sides of your belt are on the inside edges of your legs. Now bring your feet closer to your pelvis and tighten the belt so that it is holding your legs close to your torso. Don’t make the belt so tight that you feel a pull on your knees.
Lie back over the bolster and place your head on the blanket so that it doesn’t tilt back. With your hands slide your sacrum and buttocks toward your feet so that your lower back feels long. If you feel any compression in the lower back, you may need to slide a bit more off the bolster toward your feet.
Pull your shoulder blades away from your neck and roll the outer edges of your shoulders down so that the chest spreads from the center to the sides. Let your arms release to your sides on the floor, spreading away from your chest, rotated outward, palms facing up.
If you feel any strain in your knees or inner thighs, place a support underneath the outer edge of each leg. Close your eyes and rest for up to 10 minutes. Allow the abdomen to recede away from your chest on the exhalations as your chest expands outward and upward on the inhalations."
VIPARITA DANDASANA AND SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA
"Position two bolsters end to end and place two blankets, folded lengthwise, on top to cover each bolster. Sit on the front bolster with your back to the other bolster. Tie one belt firmly around your thighs and one around your ankles to hold your legs together. Keep your knees bent and lie down on your back on the bolster. Pushing off with your feet, slide back until your head rests on the floor, but keep your shoulders on the bolster.
Straighten your legs and extend your arms straight overhead until the backs of your hands rest on the floor. Lengthen the side body toward your arms, and your sacrum toward your heels. If you feel any compression in the lower back, actively lengthen the backs of your legs toward your heels, turn the thighs in, and lift your tailbone (or bend your knees). Rest there for 3 to 5 minutes.
Now bend your knees and slide off the bolster until your shoulders and head both rest on the floor. Straighten your legs. Extend your buttocks and the backs of your thighs toward your heels. Rest your arms alongside the bolster, palms facing upward. Tuck your shoulders underneath and rotate your upper arms out to broaden your chest. Keep your chest broad as you relax your abdomen and diaphragm. After 5 to 10 minutes, bend your knees and slide off the bolster until your pelvis reaches the floor. Rest on your back with your thighs on the bolster for 30 seconds before turning to your side, untying your legs, and sitting up."
ADHO MUKHA SVASTIKASANA
"Sit with your legs crossed at the center of your shins in svastikasana so that your feet rest underneath your knees. If your knees lift up higher than your pelvis, sit up on a blanket or two. Pull a bolster onto your lap and place a folded blanket or two on the other end of the bolster. Press the end of the bolster down under your abdomen as you lengthen your torso forward.
Rest your abdomen and chest on the bolster, and your forehead on the blanket. Add more blankets, another bolster, or use a chair if you can’t comfortably reach the bolster. Cross your forearms and hold your elbows, resting them overhead on top of the blanket.
Relax your forehead and eyes and allow your attention to withdraw as you rest for two minutes, before changing the cross of your legs and arms and repeating on the other side."
"Place a bolster with two folded blankets on top of it near a wall, with a couple of tall blocks between the bolster and the wall to keep the bolster from rolling into the wall. Sit with your right outer hip on the bolster so your sit bones are touching the wall. Use your hands behind you on the floor to support you as you roll your sacrum onto the bolster and your legs up the wall. Push your hands into the floor to push your hips closer to the wall. Gently lower your head and shoulders to the floor, careful to keep your hips close to the wall.
As in sarvangasana, roll the outer shoulders down into the floor and lift the sides of your chest. Relax your throat and allow the neck to lengthen away from the bolster. Relax the abdomen and allow it to recede back toward the bolster. Close your eyes and settle here for 10 to 15 minutes. If your legs get tired, cross them in svastikasana, feet resting on the wall for a few breaths, switching the cross halfway through. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and bring your knees and feet together. Press the feet into the wall and slide off the bolster until your whole back is on the floor. Cross your legs in svastikasana and rest them on top of the bolster; switch the cross of your legs halfway through. Then roll over to rest on your right side before sitting up."