Restorative yoga for some I have observed provides the challenge of teaching the body to rest. We so often see “yoga” in our culture as something that involves a warm room and moving from one pose to another, or being able to bend our bodies into some crafty position that resembles acrobatics. Yet, teaching our body to rest through a restorative practice leads us into a meditative state or relaxed state of being, where we can truly heal on subtle and cellular level. We release stress, learn to be at rest with ourselves, and be still in our presence. It’s like a guided meditation for your being.
When I first was introduced to restorative asanas in my Iyengar yoga class, I had a difficult time letting go and being still. I felt like moving around and dancing to the raggae in my head. And, not to mention my ADD/vata like existence was being tested by actually staying still. However, I began to love these asanas, because I truly felt nourished after wards, as if something deep had healed. I dove more into my subtle body. I truly appreciated this practice when on my monthly cycle, stressed, or feeling anxious. Also, it helped prepare me for longer periods of sitting meditation and retreat. Restorative yoga was one way that taught me how to stop and be still. I have such a passion for teaching this practice, because more than anything, now, we are all going through a transitional time, and experiencing stress within our communities and in our daily life. Restorative yoga provides us a way to be with these moments and more importantly be with ourselves in a quiet space.
I suggest adding restorative asanas to your practice, and/or practicing for 20-30 minutes in this way. If you are feeling like you are unable to sleep or are restless this is one way to prepare your body for rest.
The supports that you will need are 2 blocks, 3-4 blankets, a bolster if you have one, and a strap. You will hold each asana for approximately 5-7 minutes. I personally like 10 minutes for the reclined asanas.
1. Supta Badha Konasana
Tips: In supta badha konasana if you don’t have a bolster, fold 3 blankets lengthwise. Make sure the bolster or blankets are not touching your lower back. Also, when putting on the strap make sure it is not too tight. You can use supports under your hands if they do not reach the floor. Or, you can add another blanket for more height. I suggest creating a pillow out of a blanket if you are using a bolster. Just remember the goal is to relax, if you at all feel tension, always add more height!
2. Supta Virasana
Tips: Make sure you strap your legs in the middle of the thigh. Also, the feet should be next to the hips and not under. Make sure the thighs are rolling in and the strap is supporting this action. You do not have to extend your arms overhead, you may rest them by your side.
3. Supported Upavista Konasana
Tips: Make sure the feet stay active in this pose. Add more height if need be. The knees, ankles, and feet should all be facing up.
End your restorative practice laying in Svanasana with a rolled blanket under the knees.
I am teaching Restorative Yoga at Santa Fe Soul in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesdays from 7-8:15. If you are not in the area and would like a Restorative Yoga sequence for your own practice, please feel free to contact me.
Peace. Love. Be.