Yoga is not ‘just yoga’. What many people don’t realise is that there are different forms of yoga. The concept of a good restorative sequence to mobilise your spine remains, but it’s the length of the poses that differs.
Introducing restorative yoga
Think of your big family gatherings…Have you got an uncle who is always laid back in his chair, chilling out and not moving for long periods of time, especially after his meal? This is restorative yoga!
This slower yoga combines the elements of time, warmth, comfort, support and soft light to trigger your body’s natural healing responses. The poses are held for longer (5 to 30 minutes) and props cradle and hold your body in position.
Blankets, pillows, rolls and blocks serve as a nurturing pad that your tired body can simply dissolve into. By holding the poses longer, your tight muscles and mental tensions are encouraged to ease.
You can also enhance your relaxation by using soft lighting and draping a eye pillow over your eyes to reduce visual stimulation. You may experience a drop in body temperature as you relax, so it’s a great idea to have a blanket on hand to cover up.
The effects of restorative yoga on your body
When you’re truly relaxed, your nervous system switches on and starts its job of healing and restoring your body. This gives your body a break from the usual craziness of your busy daily schedule.
It creates what is known as the ‘rest and digest mode’ where your heart and respiration rates slow, your busy thoughts subside and you feel a deep sense of peace. In comparison, when your body is constantly stuck in the ‘fight or flight mode’, your nervous system is always in overdrive, leading to anxiety, sleeplessness and adrenal fatigue.
You can DIY at home with these handy yoga tips:
- If you don’t have a yoga mat, use a towel, a blanket or a room with carpet
- If you don’t have a yoga block, use stacks of books, secure with rubber bands and wrap in a pillow case
- If you don’t have a yoga roll, roll up a towel or blanket
- If you don’t have an eye pillow to block the light, try using a folded face washer
And finally, here are my favourite couple of restorative yoga poses you can try
1. Legs up the wall!
This will give you a full body/mind refresh as the reversed blood flow from toes to torso.
Clear some space and sit next to the wall, make sure your hip is touching the wall. Lower your shoulder to the floor, then gently roll onto your back and swing your legs up the wall. Rest your head on a folded blanket or pillow and shut or cover your eyes. Stay there for 5 minutes. Handy hint – keep animals and children locked out of the room while you’re trying this pose as they are guaranteed to try and jump on you!
2. Corpse pose
This is a great pick me up for anytime you need a quick rest. Rest your entire back and body on your mat. Put a roll under your knees to take pressure off your lower back and have some support under your head and neck. Cover your eyes and cover with a blanket to keep warm. Then be still – really still. Let go of all of your physical tension and thoughts. Rest and enjoy the relaxation for at least 10 minutes.
So as you can see, yoga is a brilliant form of relaxation and is great for balancing your mind/body. If you want to come along to a class, give me a call or book online www.mindfulsynergi.com