Restorative yoga – 5 poses to practice at home
We know that sometimes despite our best intentions we don’t get to make it to the classes and workshops we really would like to. Restorative Yoga classes are my favourite to teach, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite asanas or poses with you, so that you can have an insight of what asana you can introduce to your classes. Try out the poses for yourself. Even 1 pose can make your day a little bit better. You can thank us later!
Restorative Yoga was developed for general use for people without serious injury. Although the postures themselves are very gentle, only practice to a level that feels comfortable and feel free to adjust the height of the bolsters/blankets to a level that works for you.
During Restorative Yoga, we hold the postures for some time, and they should feel comfortable and supported. If anything feels strained, either re-adjust or come out of the pose. You will need a few props on hand, a mat, a bolster, a couple of blankets or thick towels, a couple of blocks and another blanket if you are feeling chilly.
1 Supta Baddha Konasana
Lying on your back, with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor. Allow your knees to fall out to the sides until the soles of your feet are touching. You can use pillows under your knees if this is more comfortable. Resting the arms by your sides comfortably, breathe deeply into the abdomen and chest for 5 counts and the allow the breathe to fall to a natural rhythm. Holding this pose for about 5 minutes.
2 Supported Salamba Balasana
Kneeling on the floor or on your bed, use a pillow between your knees if it makes you more comfortable. Gently fold forward until your forehead is resting on your bolster or folded blankets, arms outstretched or folded by your sides. Breathing gently, let your shoulders and worries go. Holding this pose for about 2 minutes.
3 Setu Bandhasana
This is a lovely and supported back-bending posture, where the shoulder and head need to rest firmly on the floor. The rest of the backside of the body is supported on the bolsters or bolsters/blankets. A strap can be loosely tied around the ankles so the legs can relax. Hold for about 5 minutes. Keep lengthening in the lower back to avoid pinching, by drawing the tail down. If it is still too strong you can practice with the legs bent.
4 Viparita Karani
Place a bolster alongside a wall, a couple of inches out, and sit sideways on the bolster. Swing the legs up the wall and shuffle in so the buttocks are fairly close to the wall. The legs can be comfortably apart for this version. If the lower back is sensitive, you may like to practice the simpler ‘Legs Up The Wall Pose’, without the bolster under the hips. If you are very tight in the back of the legs, come off the bolster and allow the buttocks to move away from the wall, so the legs will be at an angle. Stay for 5 to 15 minutes.
5 Supported Savasana
This is the jewel of the practice, so make sure you’re really comfortable. In this version, the back of the knees are supported with a folded blanket, and a blanket/towel is rolled up to support the curve of the neck as well as the head. Place the eye-bag over the eyes and enjoy. Stay for 15 minutes.
If this whets your appetite, join the amazing Sophia for this comprehensive study of Restorative Yoga, Mind, Body and Spirit, split over two weekends at The elbowroom. This is the perfect addition to your Yoga Teacher Training professional development.