Time to Relax

In a world where everyone and everything seems to move at ever increasing speeds, restorative yoga gives you a chance to slow down and relax. I know from teaching and participating in yoga classes, this can be difficult for people who feel they are rushed for time or tied to their phone, but I think the importance of learning how to slow down is becoming very important. When I’ve taught a full restorative yoga class or just added a few restorative poses to my regular session, I hear comments such as, “That is exactly what I needed.” It probably is exactly what everybody needs, if we would just take the time to recognize it.

Restorative yoga consists of supported poses that are intended to calm the mind. The body may be supported by props such as blankets, blocks, or bolsters, or by walls or chairs. The poses are held for a longer period of time than yoga poses are normally held for – anywhere from 1 minute to 20 minutes, depending on the pose, the person practicing, and the design of the practice. Corpse pose (also referred to as Basic Relaxation or Savasana) is one example of a restorative pose that is typically done at the end of a yoga practice. This pose gives participants the opportunity to absorb all of the positive effects of their practice.

Now imagine if there were more poses that you could do to help centre yourself, relieve tension and stress, and improve sleep and overall mood. There are many restorative poses that can be done on their own or added to a regular yoga practice. One restorative pose, for example, is Simple Supported Back Bend. This pose involves laying with your back on a bolster or other support with your neck supported by a rolled-up blanket. Or a version of child’s pose that involves resting your head and chest on a blanket or bolster. Another good pose to try is Supported Bound-Angle. This pose involves laying on a bolster or other support with rolled up blankets or blocks supporting the arms and legs. Soles of the feet come together, and knees fall out to the sides. Doesn’t that sound inviting? As if someone was taking care of you? YOU can take care of you with restorative poses.

Jackson Brown Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book, once said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” Take the time to do something good for yourself – whether it’s restorative yoga or something else that will give you the same results. If you feel happy, well rested, and feel relief from tension and stress, then everyone around you benefits.