Relax: A Restorative Yoga Practice To Find Peace

Restorative is, as the name says, a restorative way  to do yoga. Whereas Vinyasa makes you sweat and move quickly, restoratives aims at the opposite – to relax, restore and move slow. Poses are held for a up to 5 minutes and are supported by props (cushions, blocks or belts), allowing your body to relax deeply. It´s the yoga for the lazy or for the hyper-active, basically for anyone who wants to gain the benefits of a good long stretch, but does not have the energy for big moves anymore.

Perfect for people on retreat, who innocently buy themselves a package of two classes per day, which no normal person (not even the yoga teacher) does in their day-to-day life, hence the second class becomes a very meditative kind of thing. Restorative, to relax and restore the otherwise strongly used, stretched and strengthened muscles. And also to breathe deeply.

Restorative yoga is almost like a meditation, but with the extra benefit of slowly moving and opening the body. Through the long held poses the fascia, the connective tissue between the muscles, opens and energetic blockages, tight muscles and sometimes emotions start to release. The sweetness is in the stillness here. Int the space to observe the changing process of the body when there is no movement externally, but movement internally.

In this short 25 minute restorative sequence we´ll be using only a bolster. In case you don´t have a bolster, take a big pillow and fold it or use two pillows on top of each other to rest yourself properly. This sequence will help you to find peace in a relaxed and harmonious way. It´s a good way to wind down before going to sleep or to simply take a break when you´d like to come back to your center.

 

As Banksy said: ‘If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.’

 

1) Start in supported Savasana, a gentle chest and heart opener. The head is resting on the bolster, the hips and buttox are on the floor. This pose elevates the chest so you can breathe deeply. You are able to breathe fully in the top of the chest as well as in the sides of the ribcage, while relaxing the shoulders and arms, which drop down at the sides of the bolster. Like this usual pressure, which rests around the upper part of the body is taken away.

Stay for 5 minutes.

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2) Continue with a gentle side opener. Come to lie on your right side, hips on the floor touching the bolster, the upper body on the bolster, the knees bent. Your right arm reaches forward, your left arm reaches over your head, ideally leaving the hand touching the ground. If your hand doesn´t touch the ground, use a block or books under it for support. This deep stretch allows you to breathe fully into each side of your body, allowing the increased flow of oxygen to circulate in the lungs, heart and kidneys.

Stay for 5 minutes.

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Change sides and come to lie on the left side, reaching the right arm over the head, while the left arm is reaching forward.

Stay for 5 minutes.

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3) Now come into a gentle spinal twist, deepening the breath in the sides a little more. With your knees still to the right side, bring your right knee down to touch the left foot. The left knee stays up. Twist the upper body so that your chest comes onto the bolster. If possible turn the head to the opposite (left) side, keeping the knees to the right. If the stretch for the neck is too intense, turn the head to the right.

Stay for 5 minutes.

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Change sides, right knee up, left knee touching the right foot, chest on the bolster, head to the right side, if possible.

Stay for 5 minutes.

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4) Come into another supported Savasana variation (there is many!), with the bolster under your knees. Place your Let the feet fall relaxed to the sides of the mat, the arms are relaxed spread away from the body, with the palms facing upwards to receive.

Stay 5 minutes.

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May it be of service.

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