October can be a wonderfully productive time for getting work done, and getting our kids into the rhythm of school life — be it preschool or the twelfth grade. For parents, though, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of work/family/work/family with not enough “me” time on the mat — which inevitably leads to exhaustion and stress — which leads to even less time on the mat — and even sometimes to the start of cold and flu season. (A season which, I’m sorry to say, has already begun at my house.) New moms and dads may have trouble finding any time to practice yoga at all. And, before we know it, we’ll be moving into the holiday season. Time flies. But we can all make time for one pose — today, NO MATTER WHAT, one rejuvenating, restoring, health producing pose. Right?
The question: Which one? I asked some of my favorite yoga experts to weigh in:
Andrea Ferretti, a longtime Yoga Journal editor and now a new mom, has been finding comfort in Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. “It’s the most healing pose for me,” says Andrea. “A triangle a day is nice, too.” she reports. “It feels empowering, it’s strengthening, and it stretches the whole body.”
Another YJ editor and contributor — and new mom — Erica Rodefer Winters agrees with Andrea. “My body craves heart openers galore right now to combat all the baby holding — and those give me energy, too,” she shares. “As long as I get into my body for a few deep breaths each day I always feel better!”
Bobby Clennell, the senior Iyengar instructor and author of The Woman’s Yoga Book and Watch Me Do Yoga — and illustrator of my yoga memoir enLIGHTened – recommends Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) for those stressed out days. “Prop yourself so that you are comfortable,” she says. Other days, Downward Dog with a head on a block, and Shoulderstand.
(My personal favorite — and a great addition to Shoulderstand — is Ardha Halasana (Half Plow Pose) with a chair. Once you work out how to get in there comfortably it does wonderfully healing things to your entire system — especially for those of us who are prone to headaches.)
My teacher and friend, the senior Iyengar instructor Marla Apt, recommends Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose). “On a bolster, bench, block, over the edge of a bed, without any support…” says Marla. “Whatever variation works for the day. It can be either restful or stimulating or even both. It opens the chest, counteracts all of the lifting and bending forward that new moms do, energizes the body, improves the mood, calms the mind, rests the heart, gives the feeling of stretching outward while withdrawing the attention inward, and sometimes it just provides the perfect platform for a rejuvenating nap.”
Now, I know I can make time for that.
What’s your favorite pose to practice on a day when you are in need of yoga but just have time for that one special pose?
Jessica Berger Gross is the author of enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer (Skyhorse), out in paperback this month. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and four-year-old son. “Like” her author page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter.