Restorative Yoga poses teach you how to give yourself deep support and rest…whether you have 5 minutes or all the time in the world.
They are grounding, opening, soothing…and even a little magical.
They help our body to recover from being in habitual/uncomfortable positions, while turning on all the quieting branches in the nervous system, which are also related to the body’s natural healing responses, and, of course…to sleep. 🙂
They can help us to restore energy when we are tired or experiencing emotional or physical pain.
I also notice they are excellent incubation tools, nourishing a state of body centered ease that naturally opens pathways for receiving creative ideas and solutions.
One of the things I love about Restorative yoga is that often just one pose, inserted into your day when you need it as a little pocket of retreat, can be even more powerful than going to attend a full group class once a week.
I think it’s something about the self-efficacy, self-love, and sensitivity to your body it nudges you to develop over time.
We can begin to directly experience that a high quality self care practice is more about quality of attention than the quantity of time you have.
One of the things I don’t love about Restorative yoga is that lots of people are intimidated or put off by all the props that are used, either seeing them as a sign of weakness, or simply a hassle.
There are so many of them, and they can be expensive to buy on your own.
So it seemed useful to demonstrate how you can be an advanced Restorative Yogi by playing with what you already have in your house.
Just as how skilled herbalists and other holistic health practitioners teach us to see the medicine that naturally surrounds us – I want you to notice the medicine that surrounds you also inside your home in the form of seemingly mundane inanimate objects 🙂
All towel sizes can be experimented with to create soothing supports, especially around joint intersections.
Calming/Grounding: Lengthens back body, opens/eases hamstrings and spine, massages vital organs as you inhale and exhale.
Couch and Bed Support
Sometimes called ‘Instant Maui’, this supported inversion can also be done
with legs resting over a chair, a chest or coffee table, legs up the wall, or just a whole bunch of pillows and cushions.
Fantastic after being on one’s feet or sitting for long periods of time.
“Pure Ambrosia for the Overworked Nervous System” ~ Donna Farhi
Inflatable balls of all sizes can also be used in Restorative Yoga practice and are particularly nice for support in forward and backward extension. They also offer a unique floaty sensation.
This ball is on the softer side – less air than you would have if you were using it for stability/strength training.
You can play with the amount of air you like depending on the balance of softness/firmness that feels most supportive to your body.
Under the arms and neck are towels and under the knees are couch cushions.
All of the poses help to open and support freedom from stress in major intersections like neck, shoulders, chest, spine belly and hips, while creating a feeling of being held in a safe container for rest, integration and release to occur naturally.
A rolled or accordion-style fold of a mat, blanket or towel can be played with both vertically and horizontally under the back.
Can also be done with a chair instead of bolsters.
This starfish shape (similar to Savasana, but wider open), requiring no props (except perhaps a soft layer under the head if you like) is being studied in participants who practice just this for 7 minutes at a time, three times a day with amazing restorative benefits.
Just an example of an at-home Restorative nook 🙂