Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Why: This seated posture provides a gentle twist, providing a ‘wringing out’ for the internal organs, which can help improve digestion. The posture also brings a rotation into the spine, improving flexibility.
You will need: possibly a small pillow or shallow foam block to sit on if it is difficult to cross one leg over the other, otherwise, just a mat or space to sit.
How: Sit on the floor with both legs extended out straight in front of you. If you find it difficult to sit upright with both legs extended, you can sit on a pillow or shallow foam block to help angle the pelvis forward slightly. Keeping the left leg extended, cross the right leg over the left, knee bent to bring the right foot flat on the floor to the outside of the left thigh. Take the right hand behind you, about 5-10 cm away from your lower back or out to the side, whichever feels most comfortable. Take an inhalation and as you do, extend up tall out from your pelvis, and then on the exhalation, twist around to the right side. You can wrap your left arm around the right knee to provide some additional leverage. Again, on the next inhalation, extend upwards, and then on the exhalation see if you can twist around a little bit more. Stay for approximately 1-2 minutes and then repeat on the other side.
Roll Under Belly
Why: This restorative yin posture gives the internal organs a massage and helps to relieve any bloating in the stomach area and also help to alleviate period pain.
How: Position the bolster lengthways and your rolled up blanket horizontally across the bolster. Aim to have the top of the hip bones just below the roll, and the bottom of the ribs above the roll as you lie face down onto the lengthways bolster. Take an inhalation and then on the exhalation, let your belly sink down onto the roll and then come to stillness and rest there for 5 minutes. You may become aware of the heart beating at the back of the belly and the spine should relax and potentially lengthen with every exhalation as you relax down onto the roll.
Reclined bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Why: This posture opens up the abdominal organs and nourishes the digestive system. It also helps to release tension in the inner groins and hips.
You will need: a bolster, possibly a blanket and blocks or pillows to support your knees.
How: Position your bolster lengthways and then sit at the bottom end of the bolster on the floor so the end of the bolster is behind the small of your lower back. Bring the soles of the feet together so you create a diamond shape. Let the knees drop out to the side. As you’ll be in this posture for 5 minutes, you’ll need some support under your knees – either pillows or blocks. You’ll then use your arms to help you gently lower yourself back onto the bolster. You may want to add an additional pillow under your head. Let the arms relax down onto the floor away from the body or you can position your hands to rest gently on your belly. Focus your attention through your breath to the belly area, taking full inhalations into the belly. To come out, bring the knees together and roll over on to one side to come off the bolster.