A Restorative Yoga Sequence for After the Feast!
I’m talking about a restorative yoga sequence here, with several poses that help aid digestion. I used to have a little yoga studio in Chicago, and I always taught this sequence the week of Thanksgiving. The picture below is my handout on the class from 1997. The first two poses and the last two poses should be assessable by anyone who doesn’t have knee, ankle or feet problems. These four poses do not require the use of any props although you may want to have a blanket under you for padding and of course, your pilgrim hat (or Indian headband) handy!
#1 and #2 are kneeling poses. Keep your spine long and straight and perpendicular to the floor. Do not attempt these poses if you have any knee, ankle, foot or toes problems. You should never feel any pain in a yoga posture.
In Vajrasana (Diamond Pose), #1, simply kneel with your knees touching as close together as you can get them and your big toes touching each other – sit on your heels – the heels will spread away from each other slightly but try to sit evenly on top of the feet and the front of the ankles – in the beginning you will need to lift your weight up off your heels every few seconds, but your ankles will adjust to the feeling and you’ll be able to put weight on them. Try lifting the feet and curling your toes to grip the floor, then gently sit back onto the heels, pressing the bottom of the toes into the floor.
#2, Virasana (Hero Pose) , is a little more challenging pose on the knees – be careful – if you feel any pain, don’t do it – you can try putting something under your rear end to raise your hips, but again, if it hurts, don’t do it! From the first pose, Vajrasana, lift your hips and separate your feet out to the sides, then sit between your feet. The tops of the feet should be on the floor – look at your feet – the soles should be facing up and the feet should mirror each other.
These two poses help promote digestion as various acupressure points on the tops of the feet are pressed – sitting in these positions for a few minutes after eating a large meal will improve your digestion.
Restorative Yoga sequence especially good for digestion.
#10 Pavanamuktasana (Wind Relieving Pose-the Sanskrit word pavana means air or wind and mukta means freedom or release, asana means pose or posture) Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest – try to clasp your hands across your shins. If you are flexible you may be able to grab your elbows – Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. This pose accomplishes what its name suggests: it helps digestive problems associated with gas.
#11 Savasana (Corpse Pose) Lie on your back with your feet about 1-1/2 feet apart. Extend your legs then let them completely relax. Extend your arms with the palms facing upward and about a foot away from your body, then let the arms and hands completely relax. Adjust your head so that your forehead is parallel to the ceiling, your chin should not be up, but keep the back and front of the neck long. Close your eyes, tune out – try to focus your attention on your breath, especially on the movements of your body with your breath – lie this way for 4 or 5 minutes, then without opening your eyes, slowly roll over onto your side and bend your knees – after at least 30 seconds on your side, open your eyes and slowly and carefully get up, put your pilgrim hat back on and go get yourself another piece of that great pie!
Again, I can’t tell you enough that you should not feel any pain getting into or while in any yoga posture. Do not attempt these poses if you have any contraindicating conditions! Do not do these poses immediately after eating, wait at least an hour.
Find yourself a good yoga teacher – I recommend an Iyengar style of yoga, Mr Iyengar is the innovator of most props used in yoga classes and yoga therapies. For me, the best St Louis Iyengar studio is over on Jamieson near 44 and Arsenal – Yoga St Louis – Bruce Roger has been teaching this method of Yoga since the 80s.