Use Restorative Yoga to Release and Rebalance

Typically the final resting posture is the most relaxing part of a yoga session. In Savasana or corpse pose, yoga students learn to focus on their breath and completely release any effort of body and mind. The reward is a sense of peace and equanimity that can lead to a reduction in stress and an easing of ailments caused by anxiety or tension.

There are many yoga pose variations that can elicit a Savasana-like awareness and promote relaxation. For this post, I will give you the techniques for the restorative pose called Supta Baddha Konasana or Supported Bound Angle Pose. Continue reading “Use Restorative Yoga to Release and Rebalance”

YOLY Challenge #49: Amplify Your Awareness

For many years, the system of yoga was my “go to” method for health maintenance. After all, it is a terrific course for correcting imbalances in body, mind and spirit. Small episodes of pain and stress would come and go – there was always my practice to guide me through any discomfort.

Until this year. I experienced a rare facial nerve disorder (that I have still yet to diagnose). Although restorative yoga postures, breath work and meditation did help me to relax, the pain and other repercussions of this ailment forced me to search out a viable treatment.

So, I googled my options for healing. You could say that I went on a quest for healing.

And, along the way, I discovered acupuncture, aromatherapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu. Together with the modalities of massage and yoga, these therapies have paved the way toward my well-being.

Because my background is geared to yoga, I applied simple breathing and relaxation techniques to the acupuncture and Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions I received. At first, it merely helped me to stay calm with the uneasiness I felt in these new situations. However, as my comfort level increased, I realized that when I executed these yoga techniques within my treatments, I could awaken my body’s intelligence and amplify my level of awareness. butterfly-492536__340

After a relatively short span of time, not only did my symptoms resolve for longer and longer periods but, in the end, they nearly vanished.

Nowadays, I continue to receive massage and Jin Shin Jyutsu, utilize aromatherapy and am slowly incorporating a stronger yoga practice back into my daily routine. I feel like my body is finally in sync again, a sensation that I had been missing for nearly a year.

Each form of bodywork I experienced has taught me how important the awareness of the present moment is to overall health. I am so thankful that I was able to apply the yogic principles of relaxation and breath work to amplify each modality’s effectiveness.

In turn, I have reapplied this new heightened level of awareness back into my yoga practice. In general, I am staying even more open minded. My body feels a new alertness and there is a deeper level of harmony moving within.

I had discovered that the underlying meaning of each of these modalities is the present moment awareness. And, that, even in the midst of pain, you can lean in, stay attentive and surrender.

Your challenge this week is to locate your own method for generating increased awareness. You may wish to look into one of the modalities that I have mentioned or maybe you already have something simmering on the back burner.

Please keep in mind that whatever you choose should grant you a deeper connection to Self. It should awaken you to your true nature. Only then will you be able to see things as they truly are and live in the present moment.

Best wishes!

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YOLY Challenge #25: Restore For the Holidays

I am a bit late for the Monday Yoga Challenge.  After spending a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends, I gave myself another week for recharging and reflection. We all need breaks from routine and time to contemplate on our direction.

So, this challenge is to focus on nothing…

…nothing but reflecting and restoring ourselves for the coming days when we will take on more commitments, more cooking, more cleaning, more talking, more staying up late, more drinking, more eating – you get the picture.

Take some time each day this week to relax and enjoy these set of restorative postures:

Tuesday: Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall) – belt your thighs together to really let go!

Wednesday: Cat/Cow & Child’s Pose – use your breath to guide you as you flow from Cat to Cow and then give yourself adequate support for maintaining a comfortable Child’s Pose.

Thursday: Do a Bed Stretch – alternate bringing your knees into your chest and slowly allow your breath to extend and awaken you.

Friday:  Supine Stretching (you can use this as another Bed Stretch) – inhale as you lengthen your arms overhead/activate your legs then allow your exhalations to completely release the stretch (repeat).

Saturday: Find a quiet corner to sit and visualize your breath moving up and down your spine.

Sunday: Take a True Savasana – be warm and set your timer for 15 minutes, focusing on your breath.

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And, finally, something to reflect on – the definition of Savasana as explained by B.K.S Iyengar:

“In the beginning, the ribs do not relax, the breath is rough and uneven, while the mind and intellect waver. Gradually, a student learns to still the body, the senses and the mind while keeping the intellect alert. When savasana is well performed the breath moves like a string holding the pearls of a necklace together. There is minimum wastage of energy and maximum recuperation. It refreshes the whole being, making one dynamic and creative.  It creates fearlessness and serenity.”

 

Yoga’s Mind-Body Connection

After a class last week, one of my new students shared that she appreciated the opportunity to do restorative postures in our Basic Yoga sessions.  This brought a smile to my face – I have always believed that any yoga class is better digested when you take time within the session to do a supported pose.  Whether it occurs at the beginning or end of our class time, I try to incorporate a posture that we can marinate in for a few minutes.

I thought about why slowing down is so important. Especially when we share a class experience.

1.) We tune in.

Often times in class we are caught up in our surroundings and what others around us are doing.  Sometimes we are asked to focus on the breath but it’s rare to find the opportunity to tune in with our mind and become still.

2.) We find our center.

We need moments without instruction, interaction or stimulation to center and find the deeper connection.  Time to allow an opening or balancing to come from the pose. For many, it is only when the pose slows down that the breath joins in and the body begins to truly “feel” the yoga.

3.) We get into our bodies.

There is so much going on in a traditional pose.  The right leg does this, the left arm does that, the head looks up and through it all the spine tries to remain aligned…  Restorative poses, especially when guided with props, allow you to just be.  The pose is doing you.  We receive the support for our bodies and breath – and our minds respond by opening.

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We don’t use the body to get into a pose – we use the pose to get into the body.

– Bernie Clark