Restorative Yoga:: Relax and Rejuvenate
I teach all different styles of yoga, and I acknowledge and appreciate the value of each style. One of the reasons we have so many different options to choose from in the world of yoga is because they each offer an individual and unique purpose. Each day I wake up and my body feels different than the day before, and that's the moment when I ask myself what I need. Sometimes it's hot yoga, sometimes I need to create and flow in vinyasa, and others I need pure and simple stillness. I think for the majority of our population it's easier to squeeze in a hot or vinyasa class into our busy days, but making time for yin or restorative yoga is a little bit more challenging, because it is a practice of relaxing your nervous system rather than the muscloskeletal system. One of the reasons I enjoy restorative yoga in the winter so much is because we have a natural tendency to hold and tense up when we are trying to stay warm and in effect our bodies get tight and on a deeper level have a harder time releasing. Putting ourselves in a rejuvenating state not only increases oxygen in our bodies on a cellular level, but also increases our mood and emotional state to make the cold months a little bit easier. Aside from our general habit of rounding forward because of our culture, the winter months force us to do this as well as a natural mechanism of creating heat. Because of this my go-to posture is a supported heart opener.
You can do this in two ways::
1 round bolster- place at the base of your spine and lie back
2 yoga blocks- one at the low point under your shoulders, and the medium point under your head
Another great addition to this posture is the possibilities with your legs. I prefer to bring my legs into bound angle pose, soles of the feet together and legs wide, to allow for a gentle hip opener.
A lot of people ask how long to stay in a restorative posture. You can really do it as long as it feels good, but I prefer to hold each posture for 7-10 minutes. Fully supported and completely relaxed in order to receive all the benefits.
Try it out :)