Find Your Inner Yogi.

25 Dec

Happy holidays everyone! It’s been a nice Christmas here full of family time, opening presents, eating lots of yummy food, and just having the chance to all be together.

This Christmas I got a yoga mat (like the one pictured below). I’ve recently gotten into restorative yoga in Asheville, and so my mom figured I needed my own mat for the times when I wanted to do yoga but didn’t have the time to catch one of the restorative classes during the week.

According to restorativeyogaposes.com, restorative yoga is a therapeutic style of yoga that promotes deep relaxation for the body through supportive poses. The more the body is supported the deeper the relaxation can be experienced. In full relaxation, there is no movement, no effort and the mind is silent. Restorative yoga helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system allowing for improved digestion and the reduction of muscle tension, chronic stress, fatigue, blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. While the body relaxes in restorative yoga poses, health is promoted throughout all of the organs, tissues, and body systems.

Here are some restorative yoga poses (with definitions and techniques) that I’ve done in restorative yoga classes:

  • Salamba Savasana (Supported Corpse Pose): This pose helps calms the brain and reduces stress, headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It relaxes the body and helps lower blood pressure. Technique: 1) From a sitting position turn to one side and gently lower into a side-lying position, then roll onto your back. 2) Take care to position the legs evenly angled away from the midline of the body and the arms out the side, palms face up. Make sure the shoulder blades are relaxed and spread the collar bones. 3) Allow the inner muscles of the legs, arms, and face to soften. Release any lingering tension in the body as you scan head to toe. Let the eyes be heavy and close the lids dropping inwards into the pose and releasing the external world. 4) Remain in this pose for 10 to 30 minutes while you integrate your mind, body, and spirit and allow your whole being to refresh and renew once more. 5) To release from the pose being by wiggling the fingers and toes, waking the body and then stretch the arms overhead and lengthen the spine with a few deep breaths. Bend your left leg and roll onto your right side. Stay here for a few breaths before pushing up to a comfortable sitting position.
  • Supported Reclining Twist: This pose is especially beneficial at the end of a practice to restore and rebalance the nervous system. The internal organs benefit as well as blood. Technique: 1) Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Place a bolster or pillow to either side of you. 2) Roll to one side and allow the entire length of your spine be supported from the bolster behind you as you ¼ turn back onto the support. 3) Hug the other bolster placing it between your knees and drawing it close the chest.

These are the only 2 I remember for now, but once I get back to Asheville and get back into the swing of the restorative classes, then I’ll have an update. Overall though, restorative yoga has helped me immensely. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I had tried yoga before. However, because of my CP I hadn’t been able to do many of the yoga poses. However, with restorative yoga, the poses concentrate on relaxation and comfort, so I’m able to do them. Plus, there are always variations to different poses if there are certain positions that are difficult or painful. Therefore, I encourage all of you to embrace your inner yogi. Even if you’ve never tried yoga or never really wanted to, it’s at least worth a shot. It has greatly decreased my anxiety and stress.

Also, my mom let me use one of her yoga cds called Yoga Zone: Music for Meditation, and it has been great background music for all of the restorative yoga poses!

Keep in mind too that I’m new at restorative yoga, so I’d love some feedback or suggestions if you have any! 🙂 

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One Response to “Find Your Inner Yogi.”

  1. needtotaste December 30, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    I go to a weekly Vinyasa class, and every few weeks we do a restorative session–such a treat! I especially love the poses where you sit on your bottom and pour forward, just letting the crown of the head move slowly toward the floor, stretching the neck and spine. My instructor always refers to the feeling of the body in yin yoga as “hanging on your bones.” Love that! Happy yoga-ing to you, and enjoy that new mat!

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