The Yoga Couch: Take Time for Self-Care with Ginger Garner
The phrase “Yoga Couch” is fun and inviting, especially for all you tired mommas out there who just need 5 minutes of peace (and a little self-care!). The Yoga Couch was originally called “Three Tier Approach,” and although it was accurately descriptive, it was a super boring name!
It was a patient who dubbed it “Yoga Couch,” because it was SUPER comfy, restorative and revitalizing. And, it was the thing she MOST looked forward to during her physical therapy sessions with physical therapist, professional yoga therapist, and PYTI® graduate, Liz Duncanson. And so, the name, “Yoga Couch” stuck.
What is “Yoga Couch” good for?
The Yoga Couch is a great yoga posture that uses 2 trifold blankets and is helpful for:
- Practicing yogic breathing, or the basic gold standard relaxation breath, diaphragmatic or deep belly breathing.
- Returning the mind to a “rest and digest” state.
- Managing stress.
- Normalizing shoulder, hip, and spine alignment.
- Pain relief.
- Supporting natural spinal curves or what is also called “plumb line alignment.”
- Improving posture and postural feedback (standing taller and more confident).
- Caring for or preventing generalized joint and back pain.
- Minimizing breathing problems if you have allergies, congestion, asthma, COPD, or similar breathing issue.
- Easing myofascial tension (sensation of pulling or tightness in the body).
- Easing neural tension (numbness or tingling in hands or feet).
- Improving vocal projection (if you are a teacher, public speaker, singer, or instrumentalist, or performance artist).
- Improve body awareness and somatic experience.
- This can be a trauma-sensitive yoga pose that is an alternative for corpse pose, or savasana, especially if you cover up with a blanket or use the hands or a lightweight over the abdomen to foster a sense of comfort, warmth, and safety. If you have experienced trauma or other types of pain, please work with your physical, occupational, or mental health therapist to get the MOST benefit from this pose. If you are looking for a therapist trained in MTY, search this list.
Practice with Me
Once you have the knack of practicing Yoga Couch – you can spend at least 5 minutes (pain-free of course!) a day resting over the Yoga Couch to work toward the above benefits. If you cannot get down onto the floor, take your Yoga Couch to bed with you! It works wonderfully if you have sleep issues, acid reflux, or a cold, to help you breathe easier.
I welcome you to practice Yoga Couch with me and to combine Yoga Couch with other restful yogic breathing patterns, like:
- Abdomino-diaphragmatic Breath
- Three Part Breath with Dr. Ginger Garner
- Sandbag Breath with Dr. Ginger Garner
- Overcoming Breath with Dr. Ginger Garner
Not sure if you are breathing properly, here's how to identify abnormal breathing patterns:
About the Author:
Dr. Ginger Garner
PT, DPT, ATC, LAT, PYT
Dr. Garner is a physical therapist, published author, and educator. She received her master and doctorate degrees from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 and 2016, respectively. Prior to that Ginger was a practicing licensed athletic trainer. She has spent 20 years in education at the post-professional and graduate level teaching a “whole person” biopsychosocial approach in interdisciplinary rehabilitation through the lens of Lifestyle Medicine, which includes use of Yoga, Pilates, Mindfulness, Music, & Meditation as health promotion and intervention.
Dr. Garner is active in the American Physical Therapy Association and serves as the APTA – North Carolina Chapter Legislative Chair. She also serves on the US National Committee for UN Women as a member of the Board of Directors and as Secretary. Dr. Garner is also a former NC legislative candidate. Her dedication to public service & policy creation fuels her outspoken advocacy for social and healthcare justice and equity. Ginger believes equality is at the heart of resolving issues related to population and public health.
Dr Garner’s has specialized in treating chronic pain & orthopaedic issues in women’s health using an integrative approach since 1995. She founded one of the first integrative yoga-based physical therapy practices in the US in 1999. She is the founder of Professional Yoga Therapy Institute® and author of Medical Therapeutic Yoga, slated for translated in 4 foreign languages. Ginger teaches internationally and domestically; and is also an adjunct assistant professor at Elon University.
In her spare time, Ginger performs with choral groups around the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in Europe, and also conducts vocal performance workshops. Ginger lives with her husband, three sons, and their rescue pup, Scout, in her home state of North Carolina. Visit Ginger at www.gingergarner.com.