Restorative Yoga for Beginners
5 signs you need Restorative Yoga in your life:
You have trouble falling asleep at night and feel tired when you wake up in the morning
You find it difficult to turn the volume down on the over-active and noisy brain
You find yourself needing to be productive all the time
You are recovering from physical injury and still would like to practice Yoga
You are feeling more stressed and anxious and need in need of quality rest
What is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative Yoga is slower paced practice than a traditional Vinyasa Flow class. It involves holding poses for around 5-10 minutes typically using props (like blocks, bolsters and blankets) to help support parts of the body to relax. The main focus in Restorative Yoga is that by relaxing in poses, we can achieve physical and emotional relaxation. This practice is great to balance an active yoga schedule or to give yourself a break when you feel under the weather.
When we take the time to slow down and breathe our parasympathetic nervous systems are stimulated, which is our 'rest & digest' The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for slowing your heart rate, lowering you blood pressure and in turn reducing stress in the body. When you are practising restorative yoga, you will feel a sense of motionlessness and shapelessness, and this can lead you to feel some emotional discomfort and vulnerability. If this happens, stay with the breath and allow it to pass.
What props do I need?
bolster (or a rolled up blanket)
blocks (if you have access to them)
blanket and jumper/socks for warmth
Here are some Restorative Yoga poses you can try. Hold each pose for around 2-5 minutes.
1. Supported Bound Angle Pose
Bring the soles of your feet together and allow the knees to drop open, then rest your back and head on the bolster. Additionally placing yoga blocks, pillows, or blankets under each thigh for support
2. Supported Twist
Begin this pose seated on the floor with bolster next to your hip, turn your upper body towards the bolster and lay your body on the bolster for a gentle supported twist. You can also use a pillow or folded blanket between your knees for more comfort.
3. Supported Forward Fold
Place a bolster on your legs and relax your upper body over the bolster. Experiment with the height by placing pillows or blankets under the bolster to find the most comfortable position. Place a rolled blanket under your knees for support.
4. Supported Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Wide-legged forward bend provides a nice stretch for the lower back, inner and backside of the legs. To relax deeper into the pose, place a bolster on the floor in front of you and lay your torso down on the bolster. If you need to bring bolster higher, use blocks, pillows, or blankets.
5. Supported Bridge Pose
This pose is great for low-back pain relief. Bend the legs and slide a bolster underneath the low back area. Rest the arms either side of the body or reaching back above the head. Option to straighten the legs if that feels good.
Enjoy and please join me in class this month for some deep restorative rest and relaxation :-)