So a question I’ve been asked is how can I create a restorative practice? Is there only certain postures I “should” do or can I do any?
Restorative yoga is a style of yoga that plays into the stillness. It is sometimes known as yin but true yin is still quite an active stillness, restorative is purely about restoration of the body.
When I first attempted restorative I could literally feel my skin crawling, my mind was NOT going to be quiet and I quite literally hated every second of it! The stillness was a struggle and the time spent in each posture was just a chance for me and my brain to have a well trident battle of wills!!
So I like to place a twist to it, to help my mind and others minds to stay centred and focused and to allow the full expanse of the practice to be able to be enjoyed.
The time spent in each posture can either be spent:
in quiet breath, dropping deeper into a state of meditation
body scanning, to explore where within we are holding tightness and guiding our body to soften
doing a form of breathwork, I use my counted breathwork practice as it’s simple and easy to access
The latter two are a way of focussing the mind if like me you have a very active monkey! They allow me to drop deeper and stay longer without it feeling so much of a struggle.
Each pose is held for longer than a vinyasa or ashtanga style practice, either 5 minutes or about 20 breaths. You can use a timer to help make sure you’re balanced evenly through your practice or count your breaths.
What kind of postures can you do?
Any! But, the key to restorative is a softening, a release. So ideally search out the most supported version of ’said’ posture. You will get very acquainted with cushions, books, straps and blankets!
Notice if you are actively engaging muscles to support yourself and find a way of propping yourself into the posture so those muscles can soften, initialy you may think “how am I every going to develope if I’m supported” but what actually happens is as you relax into the support your muscles lengthen as they release and that’s when the magic of restorative happens.
Also be aware of body temp, muscles can only lengthen properly when they are warm, so make sure you are warm! If you start to feel cold move a little to build the warmth up from within, but also maybe pop some clothes on!!
And most of all, let go of doing a ton of poses, this is about giving your body time to truly restore and rest! So you may only do 5 postures in the practice, the key is you’ve breathed, and unwound, you’ve slowed and restored!
As I write this I currently have one 60 minute restorative practice available on the wilderness platform, but this week the theme to all my practices is about stillness.
So there will be more arriving.
But within the workshop section you’ll find a number of poses picked apart and restorative/supported versions of these poses given. So go and take a look at those as this will become your knowledge of how to support yourself with restorative.
Now I love restorative, it’s my go to when Im on my period or just plain exhausted, it’s a nourishing way that I can still practice without pressure and I can really tend to my body.
It truly is in the stillness that the magic happens and restorative is an amazing type of yoga to find that out.