Restore and Renew

Restorative Yoga is something I've been studying up on recently.  If you aren't familiar, it involves using props to allow your body to reap the most benefit from each pose.  Restorative poses are held for at least five minutes and can be extremely relaxing.  Even though it might feel like your body is on a mini vacation while you do restorative yoga, it is a practice that is exceedingly good for you in body and in mind.  The following article lists 15 great reasons for trying restorative yoga:  Click HERE to read it.

Top on my list of reasons to practice restorative are these:  

  1. It helps to relieve stress.  Since stress can make you sick and depressed and block your ability to enjoy life, you could stop reading this list right now and get into one of the restorative poses below.  :)
  2. It can help you get a better night's sleep.  Hmmm, sleep better to feel better rested and to look better (or younger)?.....Yes, I'll take that.
  3. It can improve your ability to focus.  Or your child's ability to focus.  Or your partner's ability to focus.  You can all do this together. 

Who wants to give it a try?  

Here are just a few poses to try.  You will need a few simple props and to be dressed in comfortable clothes.  Begin with gentle stretches and twists so that when you do get into the poses, your body feels at ease.  Once in a pose, close your eyes, clear your mind (to the best of your ability without becoming irritated if you can't), breathe evenly and a little more deeply that usual, and just stay there for 5-10 minutes.  The longer length of time for holding the pose gives your body the chance to release, so that you can restore and find yourself feeling renewed.  These things take a bit of time, you know.  Finish off with savasana for 5-10 minutes too.  Let me know how this works for you!  And if you want more, read below for a special class I'm offering......

Gentle Backbend Over Blankets

Tri-fold a blanket and lie down with your spine along the length of it.  Place a small roll of blanket beneath your knees.  Slightly tuck your shoulder blades beneath you to open your heart.  Find your head in a position so that both the back of front of you neck is long.  Turn palms up and relax feet.

Supported Seated-Angle Pose

Set up a bolster or two stacked bed pillows with a tri-folded blanket.  Sit with this in front of you with one leg on either side of the bolster.  Inhale your spine long and relaxed.  Exhale and gently fold your upper body forward, bringing your elbows to the ground and your hands to the bolster, holding it lightly.  Bring your cheek to the blanket.  At your halfway point of holding this pose, inhale to lift your head and exhale as your turn it to the opposite side and rest the opposite cheek on the blanket.  Click on the photo to see the photo to the right for variations that might be comfortable.  (For example, I might put the blanket rolls beneath my knees even if I do not use a chair or other raised object).  **If your lower back feels too rounded, place a folded blanket beneath your seat.**

Reclining Twist with a Bolster (or a cushion or with blankets....whatever you've got....maybe a sleeping bag rolled up)  *Be sure to do this one in both directions.

Place a folded blanket over a bolster or two bed pillows.  Sit with your right hip close to the bolster.  Bend your knees toward you, with your right foot behind your left.  Lower yourself to the bolster, using your arms and elbows.  Inhale as you press your hands into the floor and lengthen your body.  Exhale as you lower yourself to the bolster resting your cheek on the blanket.  Rest elbows on the floor directly below the shoulders (adjust for comfort).  Repeat on your left side. 

Elevated Legs Up the Wall

Sit with one hip against the wall and your knees bent.  Turn so that your legs go up the wall and your back meets the floor.  Place a rolled blanket under the small of your back or supporting your sacrum (low, flat portion of your back) and buttocks.  Place a rolled blanket to support your neck and head.  Cactus your arms and slightly tuck your shoulder blades beneath you to open your heart.  Slightly raise your chin.

Simple Supported Backbend

Sit in front of your bolster or double blanket roll.  Bend knees and recline, using your elbows on your bolster in the process.  (Or lie down on your side and roll to your back).  Support your Neck with one hand as you reach the floor and adjust a rolled blanket comfortably under your neck.  Your seat and and shoulders should comfortably reach the floor.  Open your arms away from you and slightly roll your shoulder blades beneath you, raising your chin. 

Speaking of Restoring and Renewing....... I'm excited to tell you that my yogi friend Sally and I are working on offering workshops and retreats to help you do just that.  More news soon!

Upcoming Special Class:

Gentle Yoga and Essential Oils  -  Saturday, May 6  -  9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  -  @ Sankulpa Yoga's studio  

This class that combines gentle stretches, twists, and poses (some of them restorative) with the application of various essential oils.  During the class, you will also learn about the oils used.  There are a limited number of spaces available, so please register by clicking here and scrolling down to find this class.

If it's not too much bother, please type a comment below to say hello or click to "Like" so that I know you've stopped by to visit the blog.  Thanks, and have a renewing week.