A Restorative Yoga Flow for Healing
The practice of restorative yoga has become a favorite among all ages for its stress-reduction benefits as well as its ability to reduce muscle soreness and aid in flexibility. When it comes to the mind-body connection, our fast-paced lifestyle in may ways, begs for this type of calming activity. The sequence below takes about 30 minutes, or you may choose to pick a few poses that call to you for a mini stretching session. Any amount of time we spend bringing more relaxation into our life makes a difference.
Stress releases hormones in our body that can lead to free radical tissue damage, strain on the filter organs, and chronic inflammation. Long-term stress can increase the risk of developing certain diseases. It’s really a no brainer to start incorporating a stress reduction practice into your life to help keep those unwanted results from your super awesome life.
In this type of healing yoga, the focus is not on building muscle or mastering a very advanced pose, but instead one slows their breathing and thoughts to melt into the abyss. There is a profound and deep sense of release as you let yourself be held by gravity in a pose instead of forcing yourself into the position. Each of the yoga poses is held for about five minutes or so to allow the tension in the area being stretched to melt away. The slow breathing becomes the most active part of the practice. Your nerves get to relax giving you a much needed unplug from the overstimulating world we live in.
Your Yoga Flow for Healing & Restoration
1. Supported Child’s Pose
The benefits of this pose include decompression of the lower back, improved sense of calm, and activation of the Third-Eye chakra. You will need two folded blankets or bolsters to make the pose the most comfortable. Pillows can work as well.
Begin seated on your heels. Bring your knees just wider than your hips and place the blankets between your knees. Rest your torso on the blankets without lifting yourself off of your feet. Rest one hand on the other and turn your head to one side. Stay in the pose for five minutes breathing slowly and deeply through your nose with your eyes closed. Turn your head to the other side about halfway through to keep the neck balanced. To stay in a relaxed state, slowly come out of the pose to transition to the next pose without any sudden or jerky movement.
2. Supported Bridge Pose
This is a pose that lowers bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. It helps reduce racing thoughts and anxiety as well as brings energy to the Heart and Throat chakras to help you speak in a loving open manner. It can also help your intuition by bringing prana and circulation to the sixth and seventh chakras. You can use two folded blankets, two pillows or a bolster for this.
Lay on your back and bend your knees placing your heels by your backside with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips and slide the folded blankets or support props under your lower back. Bring your arms out to the sides with your palms facing up and tuck your chin slightly to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and focus on slow deep breathing in and out of the nose for five minutes. Move very slowly out of the pose to remain relaxed.
3. Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This pose helps improve circulation and flexibility in the hips and legs, reduces lower back pain, and helps the reproductive organs. This can help release anger or guilt which may be stored around the Sacral chakra and it can help you feel more naturally creative, ready to enjoy life. Forward folds stimulate the relaxation response in the nervous system to reduce the ‘fight or flight’ stimulated state.
Stack two yoga blocks and cover them with a blanket. If your legs are tight, you can also fold a blanket and place it under your hips to help you lean forward in the pose. Begin seated and come to a loose straddle. Place the stacked blocks with the blanket in front of you and lean forward so you feel a gentle stretch in your legs and back but do not stretch as much as you can. You want to be able to just relax into the pose. Place your forehead on the blocks so you can relax the back of your neck. Stay in this pose and breathe slowly and deeply through your nose for 5 minutes. Take a deep inhale to slowly come out of the pose.
4. Legs Up the Wall
This is a pose that will help reduce pain and swelling in the feet. It also helps calm you down and allows the circulation to flow to your head easier for mental clarity. You can place a blanket on the floor folded in half or in fours to make a soft place for your back and you can use another blanket to cover your body.
Start sitting with one side against the wall. Lay down, and as you shift your torso perpendicular to the wall, bring your feet up the wall. Don’t worry about your legs being perfectly straight. Scoot your backside up to the wall and bring your arms to the sides and let your palms face up. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply in and out of your nose for 5 minutes. When you’re done, slowly make your way to the fetal position and rest here for a moment before gently lifting yourself up to seated.
5. Star Pose
This is a variation of corpse pose (savasana) which feels open and is supported to allow for ultimate relaxation. This is to help you recover your energy and enter total relaxation.
Roll your blankets to create two tubes, then sit down with your legs out in front of you in a V shape. Place one of the rolls under the backs of your knees and the other behind you where it will support the back of your neck. Lay back and bring the arms out the sides. Perhaps cover yourself with one more blanket. Allow your ankles to fall to the sides and let the ground fully support the weight of your body. Just let your breath naturally enter and leave your body. Release all the tension in your body and let go of all thoughts so you can ‘just be’ for the next 7 to 10 minutes. When finished, take a deep inhale. Slowly awaken by reaching your arms above your head to stretch and then gently hug your knees to your chest before slowly coming to your side and coming up to a seated position.
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The feelings of peace, the emotional release, creative inspiration, healing energy, and improved sleep that can all come from restorative yoga require slowing down, doing less, and allowing restoration of your mind, body, and soul.
Remember that any initial tension in a yoga pose will release after spending about a minute relaxing into the posture; you’ll find your flexibility naturally increases if you give yourself some extra time to adjust. You’ll find yourself able to release the thoughts crowding and clogging your mind, allowing you to get back to yourself again. In many ways, restorative yoga allows you to connect to your intuition and bond with the most real part of you which is your soul. You can find your inner strength by slowing down and getting back in touch with your own body and energy.
Restorative yoga is a great practice when you’re recovering from emotional or physical trauma. Whether you are feeling emotionally raw or are physically unable to do more rigorous activity, yoga can help you start to harmonize the systems in your body and restore your health. While the poses are important, the deep breathing should be the real focus because it is the conduit to healing and a deeper connection to your inner wisdom. The breathing alone will help you clear your energy field of negativity. Restorative yoga helps us detach from the ego and find our way back to inner peace.
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