Restorative yoga: Nourish the body, mind and soul…
Oh yeah! And feel great.
Life is hard and fast these days and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The result is that we can easily become disconnected from ourselves and often feel tired both physically and mentally.
We tend to look for ways to help ourselves, but gravitate towards strong physical pursuits like cross fit or even dynamic yoga classes, because this is an easy way to simply ‘get out of our heads’.
That’s where giving yourself the gift of a little TLC can make a huge difference.
Restorative yoga is just the thing!
Our awesome Yoga teacher, Charlotte, has shared 3 of her favorite postures to help bring balance, harmony and health back into our lives and to reduce tension, stress and anxiety.
All we have to do is spend 5-10 minutes in one of these poses and breathe and let the nourishing effect of this yoga happen.
What is Restorative Yoga & why is it good for me?
Restorative yoga is a relatively modern practice designed to restore the body back to health. It has its origins with teachings of BKS Iyengar, who developed practices using props such as chairs, blocks and straps to support practitioners through illness and injury. As Iyengar’s original teachings spread into the west, teachers combined his wisdom with the latest knowledge about the benefits of relaxation to the central nervous and endocryne systems, to create therapeutic sequences that help to counter stress, anxiety and tension in our bodies.
The practice emphasises stillness and time, staying minimum 5 minutes in each pose… For me its about re-contacting our bodies and learning how to listen to them with kindness and compassion- thereby creating the right circumstances to trigger our natural healing processes. The signs and signals from the body are there; we have to re- learn to attune ourselves to them, and not override our natural intelligence.
Pose 1: Relax, Restore & Sleep Great!
Try this sequence counter the stress and strains of a busy day or to ease your way in sleep..
Put on something comfy, grab your mat, and as many blankets and pillows as you can find. If you have an eye pillow, spot it with your favourite essential oil, put on a soft, calming playlist, and light some candles. The times given are a guide, you can set a stop watch to keep track, ideally not your phone!
Supported savasana – Rest for 5 mins.
- Lie down on your back in Savavsana (Corpse Pose) or any comfortable position.
- Try placing a blanket under the body, a pillow under the head and knees and the eye pillow across the face if you have one. Start with 5-10 mins of relaxing abdominal breathing.
- Try smiling through your eyes and mouth, and feel that warmth and friendliness radiate through the body as you release tension into the floor… Melt away!
- To come out of the pose, draw the knees into your chest and slowly move around on the back from side to side- see how much you can yield to the floor, scan through the body for any obvious areas of tightness or tension that still might need some attention.
- Take a moment or two to breathe into those tight areas and then when you feel ready, slowly sit up.
Pose 2: Rejuvenate & Revitalise:
Supported bridge – Hold for 5 mins.
- Place feet on the floor with the heels close to the hips, lift the hips and position the block or bolster (or pillow) under your lower back and buttocks, arms can rest on the chest, be raised over the head supported by the floor or rest by your side.
- Focus the breath into the tummy and allow the body to release and let go. Feel the energy return to your soul.
Pose 3: Safe & Loved:
Fetal position – Hold for 5 mins
- Lie on your right side, placing a bolster or blankets between your legs to support the hips and place a pillow rolled under the head.
- Scan through the body, noticing for anywhere you are gripping or holding on.
- Notice the safety and support the ground beneath us brings and the warmth and security that being back in this primal position allows. Relax and focus on calm deep breaths. (Tip: Lie with your back to a solid wall or away from any windows and doors for maximum sense of calm).
I hope these postures help you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and more balanced. Do them as a mini 3 posture sequence, or choose the one you feel you need as a start or end to your day.
Remember, have fun, and if anything begins to feel uncomfortable or painful, then stop the practice. To learn more about Restorative yoga or to experience one of my gentle and nourishing classes, why not join me on a retreat in paradise?
Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you in the sunshine soon.
Santorini Yoga Retreat
Location: Oia, Santorini Date: 15 – 22 or 22 – 29 September 2018
Instructor(s): Charlotte Mulvany and Andrea Everingham
This rejuvenating retreat programme combines Vinyasa Yoga and Restorative Yoga & Meditation to take you on an incredible journey of wellbeing and discovery in stunning Santorini. Immerse yourself deeply into a week of Jivamukti & restorative yoga blended with evening practices of yoga nidra, gentle flow, mantra & meditation.