Today I’m giving you one of my favorite restorative yoga propping techniques. I originally learned this from my mentor, Donna Farhi, and have enjoyed seeing students settle in with a sigh of relief when tucked in properly.
If you experience neck and shoulder tension, or feel overstimulated by the outside world, this can bring a soothing, cradling quality to a standard savasana.
To the left, one of my dear students agreed to model for this blog – really, she was so comfortable that she didn’t mind the extra time to soak in this pose!
We took her wonton corners and tucked in her shoulders with a fairly large amount of the blanket, leaving the center of the blanket roll’s height right at the base of her skull. She had another blanket underneath her torso for softness and support, too.
She could feel her jaw relaxing, neck melting, and could have stayed here far beyond the confines of our class time if I had let her!
When you’re set up well in a restorative, you can ‘steep’ for 15-30 minutes.
Here’s another view of this student, showing more from the top or crown of her head. We changed her position for another variation of the Wonton.
In this one, we set up the horizontal, wide edge of the folded wonton to be underneath her 7th cervical spinous process – the large-ish bump at the base of the neck, or around the top of the shoulders.
We then took the corners and lifted it up by her ears, then slid the tips or corners in, tucking the blanket around her neck to create a cradled, supported sensation as well as dampening the sounds in the room a bit for her ears.
This version is great for overstimulated senses and those desiring a more snug, secure feeling around their neck. You could add an eye pillow or hand towel to cover your eyes, also.
So you’re convinced by now that you want to try the Head Wonton – here’s how to fold it. I’m showing it with a bath towel, but a yoga blanket can do the trick, too. I personally prefer the ‘fluff’ of a bath towel for this technique.
Above, you can see the first 4 steps – easy.
Start with your bath towel folded in half, then fold in the top two corners, leaving a few inches down the center.
Do the same with the bottom two corners, then fold the entire thing in half horizontally. You should have a channel down the center that is lower for your head, and the bulk of the towel;s fluff on either side.
For the Shoulder support, have the horizontal edge near C7 or just below it. Fold the corners under and tuck the towel behind your shoulder.
Basically, you’re filling the space behind the shoulder that wouldn’t normally touch the floor, to provide this area of the body with support so it can release more fully in savasana. See below.
For the neck cradle, rest your head into the central channel, with the point or peak of the wonton aiming away from the rest of your body.
Then reach with your thumb for the underside of the wonton, and then slide the edge or corners in, tucking around your neck and dampening sound around your ears. Feel free to also cover your eyes with something soft. See below.
I hope you enjoy this technique and feel completely supported and relaxed. So many people seek relief for their neck and shoulder area – so please do write to me in the comments and let me know how it feels for your body.
Enjoy deeply resting, and namaste,