It’s loud out there. Political speeches where candidates are barking at us, rather than leading a dialogue. Alarming and redundant news that screams vicarious trauma rather than consciously informing us of current events. Social media feeds that endlessly scroll the opinions, opinions, and more opinions of our “friends.” The volume knob on our world radio right now is cranked up to a 10, and quite honestly, I am hearing nothing.
Firmly planted in our physiology is the need for restoration and renewal. When we do not allow ourselves time for quiet and rest, we put ourselves at risk for cognitive impairment, emotional imbalance, and physical disease.
Restorative yoga is a practice that includes a series of postures designed to move the body into parasympathetic dominance and heal itself. We “get quiet” on a physical, cognitive, and emotional level. In areas of the body that have become tense or hardened, we practice creating space. By observing the mind, we allow ourselves the opportunity to access higher order thinking which can lead to more creative problem solving. By allowing space for emotions to emerge, we practice being with feelings rather than stuffing them down until they make us sick.
Give “getting quiet” a try with these three restorative yoga poses for restoration and renewal:
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Supported Bound Angle Pose)
Place a bolster on top of two stable and strong blocks, designed to bear the weight of the body (see picture). Place a folded blanket on the top of the bolster and two blankets (folded long-ways) on the floor to support the arms. Roll two blankets to support the outer thighs. Sit close to the bolster that the sacrum is touching the edge of it, and place the feet together and allow the knees to fall apart. Firmly tuck the blankets into the outer thighs, so the legs feel fully supported. Lie back onto the bolster and adjust the blanket under the head, so that the chin rests slightly below the forehead. Rest the forearms and hands on the blankets, palms facing up. Relax your face. Breathe naturally.
Props needed: 1 bolster, 2 blocks, 5 blankets
Recommended Time: 5-10 minutes
2. Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
Place a block in the center of your mat, pressed firmly against the wall. Then, place the bolster sideways, pressed firmly up to the block. Sit on the floor, to either side of the bolster, with your knees facing away from it, and your lower back pressed up against it’s edge. Lie down onto the floor, allowing your hips to come onto the bolster, and your legs to extend up the wall. Reach the heels up the wall and allow the outer edges of your feet to move toward the floor. Relax the feet. Bend the arms with the palms facing up to open the chest.
Props: 1 bolster, 2 blocks, 3 blankets
Recommended time: 4-6 minutes on each side
3. Side-lying Savasana (Side-lying corpse pose)
Lie on your left side. Stack blankets underneath the head so that the head is in line with the spine (chin is slightly tucked in). Stack blankets to support the right arm and hand. Place a blanket between the legs. Rest completely. Breathe naturally.
Props: 3-5 blankets
Recommended time: 15 minutes