We are conditioned to experience the end of summer as the bridge to the rest of the year. Usually, we begin to panic—the sweetness of summer has passed, and so begins the frenzy of fall: back to work, back to school and the looming holiday season.

But what if this year, we decided to flip business as usual on its backside and treat this transitional season as an ideal time to relax, restore and reflect on the season and the memories that have passed, and look forward with eagerness to the year yet to come. Nature teaches us that fall is a time to harvest our energy. Taking time to replenish gives us the resilience to move through busier times as they come.

In this gentle practice, explore yoga that enhances your body’s ability to generate and build strong, healthy energy and enhance its circulation. If this sounds like something you need right now, consider this an invitation to create space to melt into these nine poses.

Restore and More Yoga Flow

Easy Seated Pose with Breath Awareness (Sukhasana)
5 minutes

  • Start in a comfortable, easy seated position, cross-legged, or on a pillow, if needed.
  • Feel your head centered over your shoulders, shoulders over your pelvis, as you gently flex your feet.
  • Place your hands on your lap, elbows under your shoulders, palms facing up.
  • Take seven clearing rounds of conscious breath through your nose, keeping your eyes closed and face soft.
  • Breathe and allow yourself to become more present within each breath cycle.

Extended Puppy Dog Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
5 minutes

  • Start in a tabletop position, and walk your hands out in front of your shoulders and rest on your forearms. A blanket may be placed under the knees for comfort.
  • Stretch out and allow your chest to rest on the floor, if possible and comfortable, while keeping your hips pulled back and over your knees. This is like Downward Facing Dog, but on your knees and with your chest and your hands, and your forehead in direct contact with the ground.
  • Keep your core engaged, and gently stabilize with your arms and legs and breathe with long, slow and controlled breaths in the pose, allowing your chest to release more towards the floor with each exhale.
  • Come out of the pose by pushing your hands down into the ground and shifting your body back to tabletop, and then rest facedown with your head resting on your forearms.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
5 minutes

  • From a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you, knees pointed up the ceiling, ankles flexed as you reach evenly into the four corners of your feet.
  • Begin to walk your hands forward until you reach your first sign of tension. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. Engage your core and the front of your thighs while relaxing the back of your legs.
  • Drop your head forward to stretch your upper back, shoulders and neck.
  • Allow your breath to become soft and easy as you maintain and release into the pose.
  • To come out, press your hands down and walk them to your hips to press your torso into an upright, seated position.

Supported Reclining Hero Pose (Salamba Supta Virasana)
5 minutes

  • Sit on your heels with a block or two placed between your heels for comfort. Place your knees a comfortable distance from each other, allowing the inner thighs to drop in towards the floor. If a block is not available to sit on, consider to use a folded blanket or some clothing.
  • Contract your core and lift your chest while lengthening and lifting your spine away from the pelvis.
  • Gently lean back, extending your spine and resting on your hands or elbows.
  • If accessible to your body, rest your back on a prop or release all the way to the floor or to additional props or pillows, if possible.
  • Meditate on your breath while in the pose, using it as a focal point to help your muscles relax into the backbend.

Reclining Sage Twist (Supta Bharadvajasana)
5 minutes

  • Grab some blocks or blankets or a pillow. Sit sideways near your supporting prop, hands on either side of it, and gently twist your torso to face it as you bring your head down onto the prop allowing your chest draped over it, knees relaxed and separated 8-10 inches apart.
  • Turn your head in the direction of the twist and rest your arms on the floor on either side of the bolster.
  • Breathe comfortably, noticing how your body sinks into the props with each exhale.
  • To come out of the pose, press your hands into the floor, straighten your arms and come to an easy seated position.
  • Repeat, turning to the other side.

Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
5 minutes

  • Lie on your back, and gently draw your knees into your chest on an exhale. Hold onto your shins or the backs of your thighs.
  • Squeeze your inner-thigh muscles together.
  • Press the back of your hips into the ground and lengthen your spine and neck.
  • Maintain freedom of breath throughout the stretch.

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
5 minutes

  • Sit close to a wall, and then swing your legs up the wall as you recline onto your back.
  • Use a blanket or pillows for cushioning to elevate your pelvis, placing the blanket under your pelvis and hips for a comfortable lift and support.
  • Straighten your legs and then gently slide them open into a straddle, as wide as comfortable. Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up.
  • Breathe consciously as you relax your legs into the stretch and imagine all stress draining from your body.
  • When ready to release, walk your feet down the wall and then roll to your side and rest for a moment before pressing gently into a seated position.

Supported Reclining Butterfly Pose (Salamba Supta Baddha Konasana)
5 minutes

  • Begin in a seated position with your legs extended.
  • Using a block and bolster or pillow positioned directly behind you to support your upper back and head, lie back, ensuring that your shoulders and chest can open and that you feel supported.
  • Lower your back onto the bolster and your head onto a block, step on your feet and allow the soles of your feet to meet and let your legs slowly open toward the floor. If necessary, support your outer thighs with blocks, pillows or a blanket, if the stretch of the inner thighs is too intense.
  • Engage your core as you lengthen your spine and maintain hips in neutral pelvis.
  • Use your breath to encourage your body to sink into the floor and your inner-thigh muscles to relax.
  • If props are not available to you, rely on pillows or couch cushions or lean back into a chair. As an option, rest on your elbows behind you, hands by your feet, looking up to the ceiling.
  • Exit the pose by rolling on to your side and resting for a few breaths before pressing yourself up to a seated pose.

Resting Pose (Savasana)
10 minutes

  • Lie flat on the floor, one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly, allowing your body to completely relax into the ground.
  • Take 10 conscious restorative full-body, and gentle breaths.
  • Then relax your arms to the floor with both palms turned up and continue to breathe and rest for 10 minutes or more, allowing your body to drop into a deep resting position.
  • Exit the pose by rolling on to your side and resting for a few breaths before pressing yourself up to a seated pose.

Photo credit: Trinette Reed, Stocksy
Video credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Hair and make-up: Ava Roston
Model: Cheryl Green, Yoga Instructor, 24 Hour Fitness