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Pose of the Month September:

Pretzel pose is a great restorative practice when it's time to go back to work and sitting a lot, as it very gently opens the hip area.

Balancing out your sitting habits.

I feel that restorative yoga poses are very valuable in our busy world. They offer you some much needed you-time where you can just be with whatever is in that moment. Your body can start to let go of what it doesn’t need anymore and enter into repair mode. It might not always be easy to be in that space, but it’s definitely time well spent!

For most people the summer holiday season has passed and it is slowly time to go back to work. Most of the time this means a lot of sitting and if you have a stressful job/life then there’s that too. That’s why I’ve chosen pretzel pose for this month. It’s a pose where you lie down on the floor, which should be relaxing for your back. It also works on the hip joint, which is a good counteraction for sitting in a chair and helpful in bringing your attention to the hip area to explore what is there.

This version is a very supported Pretzel, honoring the curves of the spine and gently opening the hip.

Pose of the month pretzel restorative yoga pose

How to practice
Pretzel pose:

First lie flat on the floor and notice the curve of your lower back. Now take a blanket and fold or roll it in a way that supports that curve, not making it any bigger.
Bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right knee towards your chest, activate your foot (flex it), as if your foot is standing on the floor. Turn your right knee to the right, away from your chest, opening the hip and allowing the right flexed foot to come towards your chest. Only move as far as your pelvis doesn’t hike up or roll to one side. If you move more  and shift your pelvis, you might start destabilizing your sacroiliac area. Place your right lower leg, the area just above your right ankle, on your left upper leg, just below the left knee. This way your ankle joint and foot can stay relaxed. You can bring a bolster/cushion/blanket between your lower belly and right upper leg, to prevent your knee from dropping towards you, keeping the hip open.

The arms can rest in any position that is comfortable, on your belly, all the way overhead relaxed on the floor above your head, or anything in between. As long as the shoulders can stay fully relaxed. To increase the opening of the right hip you can place a block or stack of books below your left foot. This will bring your left knee and thus your right lower leg closer to your upper body, increasing the sensation in your right hip area. Only practice this if it is comfortable for you today.

When moving yourself into the pose, make sure the sides of your body stay equally long. There might be a tendency to hike up you left hip (shortening your left side) when you move your right knee out to the side.

Be comfortable and enjoy!

When you have arrived in the pose and are comfortable, just be there and bring your attention to the movement of your breath and other sensation that you might notice in your body. Observe them, try not to interfere (unless it’s pain then do less or slowly come out of the pose). Stay there for 5-15 minutes, being present.

When the time has come to get out of the pose, move slowly and with awareness. Bring your right foot gently to the floor. Straighten both legs out on the floor and bring your arms alongside your body. Observe the sensations and differences between the left and right side of the body.

Whenever you are ready, practice pretzel on the other side.

If you enjoy these kinds of practices, check out my online self-guided journeys. I’ve recorded The Art of Not-Doing restorative packs for you. With these packs you can chose which 20 min restorative practice you want to practice. It also included separate audios with a different guidance once you’re in the pose, to vary the practice.
You can find them here in the shop.