Once you get comfortable doing Pranayama, you will be sitting most of the time. Whatever seated position you choose, have your knees level with or lower than your hips. Keep your pelvis upright, not tipping back so that you are struggling to stay up, and not tilting forward so that your abdomen is falling out of the pelvic bowl.
When you are starting a pranayama practice, it’s best to do it reclining. Then you can focus on your breath instead of your breath and your posture.
If you are not feeling well or you are tired, reclining is a good option.
This morning on my walk, I was whining to my walking partner (14 years!) about having done nothing at all yesterday except lie around and feel bad. Then I mentioned that I had done yoga, but it was all restorative. She laughed. “Get that ‘but’ out of there!” she said. “You DID do something yesterday. You did yoga, and it was all restorative.” Wow. Changing ‘but’ to ‘and’ made a huge difference.
On Saturday and Sunday, Mary Obendorfer was at our yoga studio for a workshop. This is the first time I haven’t been able to attend the whole weekend’s worth of classes. Mary is just great – warm, funny, sarcastic, a wonderful teacher with an enormous storehouse of knowledge.
I went to Pranayama classes both mornings. Needless to say, I gave her a heads up about my health before class. She was very alert to what I could and couldn’t do, and gave me different instructions at various points in the class. In some ways, this illness is the universe’s way of getting my attention and getting me to start a pranayama practice for real. Kind of a brute force method, but OK, I’m listening.
Mary also told me to do restorative inversions (rope Sirsasana, chair Sarvangasana, Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, etc.) with very long holds of 10 or 15 minutes. She said it would make a big difference to my nervous system. Sounds good to me. AND it’s all restorative. No buts about it.
Restorative means I’ll be restored. I like that.