Yoga is a practice to keep the mind calm. Thus you feel more control of your emotions and your life. A restorative yoga practice can offer a very peaceful, relaxed way of exercising and moving the body. It also encourages physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. Appropriate for all levels, restorative yoga is practiced at a slow pace, focusing on long holds, stillness, and deep breathing. Read on to learn more about restorative yoga, poses to try, and the benefits of this gentle style of yoga.
What exactly Restorative Yoga is?
In a restorative yoga practice, the focus is not on stretching or strengthening but it’s about opening oneself and one’s body. This yoga release tension in the muscles and gently stimulates the organs through long-held poses designed to support and comfort. This form of yoga focus on the truth that we do not need to go anywhere else, do anything else, or be any different than who and where we are now, and what we are presently doing. We focus on the fact that what we seek is already here – the pose is right here, right now, as we’re present with it. To achieve comfort a variety of props are use. Props such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, sandbags, and eye pillows. Restorative yoga allows us to relearn the art of relaxation while developing the skills and abilities to self-soothe. It enhances our healing capacity through helping us regulate the stress response and re-balance the nervous system.
Why to do Restorative Yoga?
Deep stretching- help your body to fully engage, soften, and allow the precise positioning to work its magic.
Poses of Restorative Yoga
Many restorative yoga poses are similar to normal yoga poses, except that they are performed with the support of props. Before you start doing the poses, you have to do a warm-up first, which can be the sun salutation or the gentle vinyasa. Each restorative yoga pose has to be held for a few minutes. Here you can understand some basic poses which help you de-stress and unwind.
Sukhasana is a very common pose for practicing meditation and breathing exercises (called “pranayama”). Sit on the edge of a blanket or block (if you have tight hips). Extend your legs in front of your body and sit up straight (Seated Dandasana or Staff Pose). Now beginning with the left leg, cross your legs in front of you at the shins. With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Fold your legs in toward your torso. Place your hands on your knees. Palms can be down on the knees, up facing the ceiling or at the chest in Anjali Mudra. Balance your weight evenly across your bones. Align your head, neck, and spine in one column. Lengthen your spine towards the sky, but soften your neck. Relax your feet, hips and thighs. Gaze straight ahead with soft eyes or close your eyes. Stay in Sukhasana for up to one minute or for the duration of your meditation or pranayama practice. Release and change the cross of your legs.
Savasana with Shins Supported on Chair
Place a chair at the base of a yoga mat and a folded blanket on top of the mat. Lie down on the blanket with glutes near edge of mat, legs bent at 90 degrees, and calves resting on the chair. Wrap lower legs in a blanket so the muscles can completely relax. Lay arms out to the side, palms facing up. Hold for 5 to 8 minutes.
Start this pose, put your hands and knees and center your breath. Spread your knees apart, keeping your big toes touching, and sit back on the heels. (If you have very tight hips then you can keep your knees and thighs together.) Sit up straight and lengthen your spine. Exhale and bow forward, slowly bringing the forehead down in front of the knees and onto the floor. Extend arms in front of you with palms facing down. This peaceful pose gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles while calming the mind.
Legs on a Chair Pose
Start by sitting in front of your chair and slowly lower down onto your side while keeping knees bent. Bring your legs over a chair, with the option to bring blankets underneath the length of your spine if the chair feels a bit too high. You also might bring a blanket under the knees and calves. Your weight should be in the middle of the sacrum. You might position a blanket under the head, with the chin slightly lower than the forehead to quiet the mind. If there is any tension in the neck, try creating a roll in the blanket that just fills the space between the curve of your neck and the ground. For deeper relaxation, you can add a pillow under your neck or feet or even an eye mask.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Reclined Goddess Pose is relaxing pose that is also a hip opener. As a restorative pose, you should be as supported and comfortable as possible. Come to lie on your back. Bend your knees, keeping the soles of your feet on the floor. Open your knees out to either side, bringing the soles of your feet together. The legs will be in the same position as they are in Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana). Your arms can be in any comfortable position—out in a T shape, overhead, relaxed by your sides or resting on your thighs are some options. Stay here several minutes as gravity works to deepen your stretch. Breathe naturally throughout the pose. To come out, reach down and help your knees come back together. Then roll over to one side and use your hands to support you as you sit up.
Supported Vertical Leg Extension
Place a folded blanket on top of a yoga mat and a bolster against the wall. Sit on the bolster with one shoulder touching the wall and in one movement, rotate your body to lie down on the blanket and rest your legs straight up on the wall. Rest your head on the mat with arms out to the side or on chest. Hold for 5 to 20 minutes.