Yoga focuses on the connection between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the self and it is a deeply personal practice. Finding the most suitable type of yoga practice for you is very important because there are many to choose from. Ultimately, whichever type you feel most connected with, that is probably what you should be doing for that moment in your life.
Restorative yoga is a gentle type of yoga on the physical body which takes the person into a state of relaxation by focusing on deep stretching, without actually making much physical movement. Making use of the props, restorative yoga is all about being kind to your body, using bolsters, blankets and blocks to carefully place the body on, and to induce relaxation. The poses are usually held for longer than other types of practices, some holding between 2-5 minutes. By staying in the pose for so long and applying very little physical pressure on the body, restorative yoga provides the muscles with a deep stretch which has many benefits overall for your health. Whilst you are in the poses it's very important to breathe deeply and just sink in even deeper, letting go of resistance and simply just letting yourself surrender.
RECLINED RESTORATIVE POSE
Using bolsters or pillows and a block under these to slightly bring them into an incline, lie restfully on your back. Open the chest by letting the arms go to either side of the body, and place your lumbar spine at the bottom of the props. You can keep the extended forward or bend your knees into reclined butterfly pose and place one block under each one to provide support for the knees. By opening the chest, you can now breathe in deeper through the nose, bringing your breath all the way into the lungs and then exhale through the mouth. This pose is great for opening and activating the heart chakra, otherwise known as the anahata chakra. the purification sound for this chakra is Yam and you can mentally repeat this mantra to yourself to place the focus onto the heart chakra activation. Stay in this pose for at least 3 minutes.
KNEELING RESTORATIVE POSE
Using two bolsters or pillows, bend your knees on either side of body and bring your pelvic area all the way to the end of the props. When you are feeling comfortable enough, lean forward onto your stomach and hug the bolsters or pillows. Place your right cheek onto the props and stay still for about 2 minutes. Then you can slowly lift your head and bring your left cheek onto the bolster. Relax and breathe in and out deeply.
SIDE RESTORATIVE STRETCH
This restorative side stretch is a great way to extend the spine and the sides of the body. Using two bolsters or cushions, come onto your right hip and bend your knees. Bring your right hip all the way to the bolsters, touching the end of the props and slowly extend the right arm forward onto the props and then lie down onto your right side bringing your right arm further down onto the floor. Once you are comfortable take a deep breath in and lift your left arm up and bring your left hand towards your right. Close your eyes and relax in this pose for about 2 minutes and then gently turn onto your left hip and do the same for this side.
RECLINED HERO POSE
Reclined hero pose has many benefits for the body but it can be a very intense back bend. The restorative option involves using a bolster or a cushion under the lumbar spine to provide more support to the lower back and the vertebrae. Sitting on your knees and resting the buttocks in between the soles of the feet, place the bolster next to the tips of your toes. Take a deep breath in and open the chest and slowly pushing the pelvis forward slightly. Once you feel comfortable, bring your hands all the way behind the bolster and sink in deeper, coming onto your forearms and finally bring your back onto the floor. As you sink in deeper, adjust your feet slightly, so the soles of your feet will come outside of either side of your thighs. Hold this pose for at least 1 minute, but do come out of it if you feel too much pressure. Back bends can release different feelings and emotions, so always be in tune with your body and most importantly be kind to yourself.