Have you ever seen a dog stretch out after a long, languid nap? They don’t just immediately get up, they start by stretching out their hind legs behind them and reach out their necks as long as possible.Then they stretch out their front legs and stick their little bums and tails up in the air. It looks like it feels ah-mazing! And when done properly it really does!
Here are a few classic poses and in yoga that are really restorative and stretch out all the kinks on your back.
*All these beautiful photos of Sen Sanchez are by Chyvin Reyes
The Sun Salutation: Chaturanga – Upward Dog – Downward Dog
Most of the time you open your you practice with a Sun Salution or Surya Namaskar, a series that starts standing tall like a mountain or Samasditihi, folding over to have your hands by your feet then extending your feet to a plank followed by a series of seamless movements until you end up back as tall as a mountain. For your reference here is the full series of the Sun Salutation.
However its the Chaturanga (high plank to lower plank) and the Upward Dog and Downward Dog that I find particularly delightful. I can stay for quite a few long, slow breaths in these poses, breathing into all the tight, wound-up spaces on my lower back.
From Downward Dog, rather than going straight back to Samasditihi, I like to bend my knees and lay them down on the mat, then sit back down on my calves while keeping my hands still planted on the ground. This is one of the most relaxing poses ever and I swear sometimes if I stay too long I fall asleep. You could also lay your arms beside your bod with your hands by your feet and plans facing upward for an even more relaxing pose.