Stay a while, crocodile

My knee situation* continues to make some of my favourite yoga positions less than awesome (I’m looking at you, child’s pose), but thankfully there are plenty of ways to modify — and lots of alternatives.

My current favourite is a restorative version of crocodile, with plenty of support and no scary teeth!

As is obvious in the video below, I love snuggling this super nurturing position. It helps that it’s super easy to get into, too. All you need is a way to support the fronts of your feet (a yoga bolster or a couple firm cushions), support for your pelvis (a dense blanket or towel) and something to nest your head into (a snuggly blanket is perfect). It’s also fantastic to do in bed!

Me demonstrating how to get into crocodile pose — and getting really comfy!

Crocodile pose

A soothing front-facing pose that eases the low back, relaxes the legs, and helps open the front of the hips. It also releases tension through the back and shoulders.

How to do it

  1. Gather your props:
    • a yoga bolster or firm cushions
    • at least two blankets (one to fold under your hips, the other to snuggle your head into) and more to drape over you for warmth if you want
  2. Fold the densest blanket into a long rectangle
  3. Position the bolster at the foot of your mat
  4. Lay on your belly with thick folded blanket under your hip creases and the fronts of your ankles on the bolster
    • Having your knees slightly bent relaxes your thighs and hips and helps ease tension through your low back
  5. Wiggle into the props to feel grounded and get really comfortable
  6. Create a nest for your head by scrunching a soft blanket
  7. Rest your arms in cactus shape or anywhere else that feels good
  8. Change the direction your head is turned halfway through 
  9. Hold for up to 10 minutes
  10. To come out:
    • Slowly press yourself up to all fours
    • Stay here, moving through gentle cat/cow, or slide back to child’s pose (assuming that’s an option)
    • Take your time to release
    • Let the blood to redistribute through your body before standing up or preparing for another pose

* The situation = osteoarthritis.

The image of the toothy grin above is adapted from a photo taken in a Louisiana swamp while on holiday. The animal pictured is, in fact, an alligator, I but I hope you’ll forgive the artistic license.

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