RESTORATIVE YOGA

Be Well Be Happy
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Today I guided a beautiful group in a two-hour restorative yoga practice. Each shows up with a different reason for being there and all leave with a sense of calm. It is permission to do nothing for two hours. To feel the breath, relax, quiet the mind — think of nothing — and just be in different forms, stimulating different healing energies inherent in our bodies. Settling in to restorative poses brings about a deep sense of comfort and relaxation. An antidote to stress. One can say it is a form of meditation.

Restorative yoga uses props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, pillows, etc. to allow the body to surrender, to let go of any muscular tension and relax. Once that physical rest and relaxation begins to take hold, there comes a stillness, an inner quiet. Practicing restorative yoga with a group of people has an added benefit of sharing all of the peaceful energy and vibrations. If you can’t make it to a workshop, here are three poses you can do at home. Remember, whatever “pose” you find yourself in, you should feel comfortable and supported. You can modify to fit your own needs. 

Mountain Brook: (bolster or pillow and two blankets or large towels, eye pillow) Place the pillow on your mat (or towel) and the towel folded in a rectangle to be under your shoulder blades. Place a blanket or towel under your head. Place your knees over the bolster or pillow, bring the palms to the sides of your body, tuck the chin in and roll down. Your shoulders should be on the mat, the rectangular towel should be positioned under your shoulder blades, providing a raising of the chest. If your chin is higher than your forehead, make a roll with the end of the towel under your head and place in the neck area. Place the eye pillow over your eyes and relax.  To come out of the pose, bring the knees to the chest, gently roll to the right side, then gently roll up pressing the left hand onto the mat.

Supported Child’s Pose: (bolster or pillow, several blankets or towels) Place the knees to either side of the bolster or pillow with the feet close together.  Walk the hands out in front, lengthen your spine and rest your chest and head to one side on the bolster or pillow. You may place blankets or towels folded in rectangles on top of the pillow for added height. You can place a blanket under the back of the knees. Wherever you feel discomfort, place a support in that area. Turn the head to the other side after a while. Surrender to the supports. To come out of the pose, press the palms into the mat and gently roll up, neck and head last to come up.

Waterfall: (bolster or pillow, blankets or towels) Place the pillow about 3” in front of the wall with a blanket or towel behind it. Lay on your side with your hip resting on the end of the bolster. Roll onto your back and extend legs up the wall with your hips centered on the bolster. To come out of the pose, bring the knees to the chest and roll to the side or press the soles of the feet on the wall and push back off the pillow or bolster.

Happy Restoring!

May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace.

(This was a revised version of the Feb. 8, 2015 column)

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