Has your life been a bit busy lately? Does it feel like its ramped up a notch? Are you feeling September fatigue yet?
Sad to say it, but I'm feeling it! For whatever reason, the slow paced summer has turned into the scheduled (over scheduled?) September and I don't even have children in school yet! I'm feeling the hustle and bustle and busyness of the Fall.
So this week, I'm venturing into some of the therapeutic aspects of yoga. And asking the question, "what is/are the best yoga poses for fatigue?". Oh google, my friend, don't let me down!
The top three (i.e., most common poses or yogic techniques) are as follows:
1. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) or Two Legged Table (Dwi Pada Pitham)
I started my fatigue lifting practice this week with bridge. A supine back extension is a back strengthener but also a chest opener. I initially started with my hands on my mid back to support the position but found having my shoulders folded back with my arms straight (under my torso) was a better position for me. In the pose, I had time to contemplate, why was bridge recommended to cure fatigue.
After practice and some reading, it realized that since it is such an opening pose, it allows for unrestricted breathing. And in some respects, taps into the three different locations of breathing considered in yoga (I don't fully understand that to date so I'll explore it in more detail in another post...).
And beyond breathing, in Timothy McCall's book, Yoga as Medicine, he notes that bridge is thought to help with heart disease, via the assistance in developing collateral blood vessels. But of course, this is not necessarily backed by research evidence. Interesting nonetheless.
2. Wide Stance Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
I continued my practice with wide stance forward bend. I have to admit, this is one of my favourite poses. It is in almost direct opposition to bridge so it counteracted well in the sequence I followed.
Being a forward bend, the back and hamstrings are stretched and the release is awesome (especially when you've got the flexibility). The only challenge was in the full pose, one's head rests on the floor. I have to admit, having a block with me would have made the pose better, but as time progressed I was able to get my head to the floor.
Again, thinking about how does this pose relieve fatigue, it dawned upon me that it is all about blood flow to the brain. Gravity is a huge help to let blood come back to the brain in this pose. More blood equals more oxygen which equals energy. Pretty cool how this works!
3. Right Nostril Breathing (Surya Bhedana)
Okay, so I've dabbled a bit in different breathing techniques and right nostril breathing is no exception. I finished my practice with some dedicated right nostril breathing. This one took more exploration than the actual poses above and I'd like to follow up this post with another on just right nostril breathing as I haven't found the answers I was looking for...why does this help fatigue...physiology please!
However, here and here are decent descriptions of nostril breathing. And I even found a research abstract here that provides some empirical evidence on right nostril breathing. More to come from this angle.
So, the big question, did I feel like my fatigue lifted? And my honest answer is a resounding YES! However, as with anything, it wore off over time. My suggestion would be a daily practice of fatigue busting poses and breathing techniques to help these transitional (and possibly fatiguing) September days!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.