In yoga, rest and relaxation is just as important as the tapas of the standing poses. When you give your body time to heal and regroup you are actually calming your central nervous which in turn boosts your immune system which improves your over all heath. Take time for you and rejuvenate by taking a fifteen minute restorative practice. This sequence could be stretched out to be longer than fifteen minutes or you could skip the Down Dogs and Bridge Pose and only do the Legs up the Wall part with out the bolster pillow to help aid with your digestion after a large meal.
1. Sit in Swastikasana - Auspicious Pose to chant Pranava "OM" three times. "OM" or sometimes you see it written "AUM" the sound is made up of three syllables: A, U, and M, or, phonetically, "aaah," "oooh," and "mmm." When "A" and "U" are together they make the sounds "oooh". When chanting imagine the "aaah" starting at the base of the spine and traveling up along the front of the spine as you make the "oooh" sound and then allow the "mmm" to resonate through the crown of the head. After chanting "OM" create an intention for your practice. Your intention could be something personal like a goal or self affirmation or maybe you want to give thanks or even you could dedicate your practice to someone you know who could use a little extra love.
2. Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog with your thumb and index finger at the wall. Make sure to press well your hands, the palms press flat and have weight in the fingers as well and do not allow your thumb or index finger to push up against the wall. Legs are straight, press your thighs back, stretch well your outer knee ligaments and lift the knee caps up. Allow your head to relax completely, reach your outer arms down, lengthen the inner arms from the center of the chest moving your shoulders away from the wall towards your hips and move your hips away from your shoulders. Lift your sitting bones high, open your chest and breath. Hold for one minute.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog with your heels at the wall. Press well your heels to the wall, reach your outer arms down and lengthen the inner arms from the center of the chest. Lengthen the sides of the trunk, create more space from your armpits to your hips. Lift your sits bones high, stretch well your outer knee ligaments and lift your knee caps up by loading the quadriceps. Palms are flat with even weight in the full circumference of the palms of your hands as well as have consciousness in the pads of the finger tips and knuckles of your hands.
4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Bridge Pose: The bridge from the physical body to the subtle body. Bend your legs and place your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. Grasp the edges of the mat to roll your shoulders from in to out, lift up your seat and move your top buttock flesh towards the hamstrings. Continue to roll your shoulders under, broaden through your collar bones and even possibly interlace your ten fingers underneath your seat. Move your buttocks towards your heels and press your outer arms down. To exit come our slowly lowering vertebrae at a time bringing your seat down last. Do one, three or five resting your low back on the ground and your feet flat, legs bent eliminating any space between your low back and the ground for rest between.
5. Viparita Karani - Legs up the wall with the the hips lifted above the heart. Start first by taking your legs up the wall and then lift your hips up and slide the bolster pillow underneath your seat. Draw the base of the big toes to touch, spread your toes apart and reach your toe mounds away from you. Press your thighs towards the wall. Press your outer arms down, draw your lower shoulder blades closer together and into the back body, broaden the upper shoulder blades and collar bones. Relax your your temples, jaw, tongue, throat and abdomen. This pose is beneficial to the organs of the body as well as stimulates the glands.
6. From Viparita Karani cross your left leg and then right into the first pose you did, Swastikasana - Auspicious Pose but now with the different gravity of having your legs up the wall.
7. Straighten your legs back up to pose #5 and find the actions of your feet once again. Then from Viparita Karani cross your legs into Swastikasana - Auspicious Pose switch the crossing of your legs crossing the right leg in first and then left on top. Continue to draw your shoulders away from your ears.
8. Lastly make Baddha Konasana in Viparita Konasana by drawing the soles of your feet together.
9. Slide back just enough to rest your seat onto the floor and repeat the crossing of your legs as in pose #6, #7 and #8. You can rest in each pose for one to five minutes.
10. Finish in Savasana for a minimum of one minute, lying flat with a deep concentration on your breath. To come out turn to your right draw your knees towards your chest and come up with your head last. Take a moment to reflect back to the intention you created at the beginning of your practice and then seal your practice by chanting (((OM))) Shanti, Shanti, Shantih.