November 9, 2010

In Sunday’s Teacher Training we discussed and got to experience a restorative practice. Different to what one might expect from a typical yoga class. These poses are what you might consider to be the creme de la creme of yoga.

For each pose you need to set up a slew of different props, and about 10-15 minutes for each pose. I heard somewhere that Restorative yoga is kind of like the dessert of yoga poses, if you compared yoga to food.  I certainly love a good workout, and this type of practice can seem like the opposite, but the benefits are showing to be worth it. The word on the mat is that a practice like this incorporated into your day can help calm your nerves, recharge your batteries, and help restore balance in your body; that’s what I call ‘the cherry on top’.

Now all the props did seem a little intimidating, but the pay off is so worth the work. The more supported and comfortable the body is, the more relaxed and rejuvinated the outcome will be. This is where bigger can be better, when it comes to the amount of blankets and pillows you set up. It’s all about ‘doing nothing’. And don’t be fooled, these may look easy, but it can take some time to melt into stillness, and let your mind become calm and rested as well. With practice, I have read, it becomes easier to get there, and as with any other pose breathing is always essential.

So, our homework for this evening was to do a restorative pose of our choice when we got home. In our sweet class today, we were given some wonderful ideas for doing some of these yummy poses. I was able to experience on where I laid upon 4 bolsters, used about 10 blankets or so, an eye pillow and maybe something else, I was under it all in bliss. There were a few adjustments here and there to make sure my hands were fully supported, and I have to say I felt like a “Queen”-everyone said I looked like one.

Even though I only stayed there for maybe 10 minutes and felt some relief, Michelle says that when these are done for 15-30 minutes they are said to be better for you than napping, resting, and even sleeping. Better, in the sense, that they allow the body’s nervous system to completely relax when there is absolutely no effort. In class we used zafus, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows and all the blankets in the studio. I would love to stock up on a few props for myself.

I decided to set up my fiance first, and I had a well up of joy while giving him this love and care. It felt really good to provide him with some restoration since he is such a busy man, and rarely takes time to do thing to reboot. So, the pose I chose was Upavista on a chair (reclined legs up on a chair). I busted out every pillow in the house, hunted down the blankets, and cozied him up on one of our IKEA Poang chairs. It was perfect because it was already cushioned. I supported all his joints, even used t-shirts to support his wrists, and after I got him all settled after a few adjustments I gave him a little face massage with a little lavendar oil. I gently placed a sarong over his eyes, and within 7 minutes, while I was settling into my own Upavista on the couch next to him, he started to snore. I took it as his way of saying “This is just what I needed”. He woke up 15 minutes later and said he needed to go to bed cause he felt like he was going to start snoring, and might fal asleep. He had no idea he was already.

I enjoyed my poses. I stayed for about 10 minutes in my original set up, and I noticed my mind was wandering a lot. I kept thinking about class that night, and then how much time I had been in the pose. I was wondering if it was working whether or not my mind was relaxed. I ended up getting up after 10 minutes to brush my teeth and wash my face, and then came back and did it again in the spot I had set up for Paul. I was able to really relax into it, and stayed for about 15 minutes more there. I felt calm, my mind was settled. I was very comfortable doing nothing. I was ready for bed after that. I couldn’t tell if anything else was happening on a nervous system level, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I plan on incorporating a restorative pose into my regular home practice now. Thanks for the cool assignment Michelle.

Just a cute note-It has taken me 2 days to edit and write this post, and last night (Monday), Paul asked before we went to bed if I would set him up in the pose again. I though that was great he enjoyed it so much.


3 Responses to “Restoration”

  1. I had to put in the funny video. It’s too adorable.

  2. Leili Says:

    Sierra, that’s so cute about Paul. Yeah, sounds like he needed a little restoration. 🙂

  3. blogasana Says:

    yay! i’m glad he enjoyed it… and these maybe just what you need too — some deep rest and relaxation. xo

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