Tag Archives: Charlotte North Carolina

Do Nothing: Restorative Yoga Self-Care

View More: http://cariannalynne.pass.us/katie-restorative-workshopWhat I am about to proclaim is radical; you have permission to do nothing.  Do nothing every month, every week, or every day. Go wild and do nothing every hour!  We all have so much to do at home, work, school, and all the places. There will always be something to do.  I promise that you will never get it all done during this lifetime. When we finish one to-do list, another waits right after.  Hitting the pause button in the midst of all the tasks and chaos is what really takes courage. What if we created stillness and silence?  How would that effect the tasks yet to be completed? Would we enter the next activity with more peace and mental clarity? Could it possibly give us energy to get through the rest of the day?

The topic of self-care has become popularized in the last few years.  What is it really? For me, self-care is carving out time and space for yourself without demands and expectations.  For self-care to really benefit us, it is vital to engage in it regularly. Sure, self-care can look like a caramel spice latte at Starbucks, a spa day, or a nice hot bath.  We can spend lots of money on self-care or none. I would like to propose a simple way to practice self-care that can be done virtually anywhere and has no cost(except time).

Judith Hanson Lasater defines Restorative Yoga as “the use of props to create positions of ease and comfort that facilitate relaxation and health.”  That to me sounds like a complete self-care practice. What could be more rejuvenating and compassionate than relaxing and spending time with yourself?  Restorative Yoga can be tremendously beneficial the first time you do it, however, the more consistent practice, the more return. You will notice relaxing quicker, going deeply inward, and more control over your mind.  It also teaches us to do less, move slower, and appreciate the silence. It is meditative in nature meaning that you will go completely inward; a time of introversion. Restorative Yoga looks easy physically but in fact is the hardest style of yoga.  Relaxing the body can be challenging for most of us. Once the body is still, we become aware of our thoughts and feelings that are with us all the time but we just aren’t aware of them. That is the difficult part.  However, if we don’t face our thoughts and feelings, they will find a way to come up; perhaps when you are trying to fall asleep.  Sitting with and witnessing all that arises with compassion is the ultimate self-care.

I suggest to start off small; practice one pose for just a few minutes every day.  Build on that once you feel you are ready. The longer the poses are held the more benefit you will get.  If you have a private space, dim the lights, create warmth, find silence and use what you have to put the body in a position that is conducive to rest.  If you are in a more public space, simply soften your gaze or close your eyes and be with your breath and the stillness. Invest in the props(blankets, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, sandbags, etc) only if you want to.  You can certainly use pillows, blankets, books, and hand towels as substitutes. If you have the ability, keep your space set up for rest all of the time; you will be more likely to do it if it’s there. Always set a timer so that you are not worrying about time or falling asleep.

A home practice is fabulous and can be so accessible.  Finding an experienced Restorative Yoga teacher, safe studio space, and a container to practice is invaluable.  Attending a yoga class creates community, connection, accountability, among other assets. Restorative Yoga tends to draw many when they need it.  Practicing consistently helps us avoid feeling like we need it as we will already have it in place and may be in a better space to handle the rollercoaster that is life.

Join Katie Overcash Rodgers, LCSW and RYT-200, at Noda Yoga every Thursday at 9:30am and Sunday at 5pm for a 75-minute Restorative Yoga class.  Restorative Yoga for Families is held at Innergy Works every Thursday at 4:30pm.  Katie has been a Mental Health Therapist for over 13 years and a Yoga Instructor for 2 years. Katie is an “Advance Trainer” under Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew© Program.

Katie’s Bookshelf: Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater

Living yoga“Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life” by Judith Hanson Lasater is the book for bringing Yoga off the mat with you.  Lasater has such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on all things yoga.  She breaks each chapter down to principles of Yoga such as courage, fear, suffering, empathy, love, truth, and many more.  While she connects each principle to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there are other spiritual associations as well.

Each chapter makes understanding the principle accessible, connects it to real life situations, and includes suggestions on how to practice it as well as mantras to accompany the practice.

“Perhaps it means that we are, in every moment, to remember the whole, to remember the gift of life, to remember the preciousness of every second.  When we do this remembering, something shifts inside us.  When we do this remembering, we talk differently, we act differently, and we treat self and others differently.”

What I like about this book, is that you can read it cover to cover, or pick a chapter that resonates with where you are.  Each chapter is something that should be taken in slowly.  I find myself reading the chapters multiple times.  Lasater says that the last chapter on “Worship”(only in 2nd edition) is the best passage she has ever written.

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book, I promise you won’t regret it.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Yogi and interested in how to carry the principles off the mat
  • You are interested in a more spiritual and compassionate life

Buy it Here

Lasater, J. H. (2015). Living your yoga: finding the spiritual in everyday life. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Katie’s Bookshelf: A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins

Symphony“A Symphony in the Brain” by Jim Robbins provides a history and background of Neurofeedback training.  He begins with more primitive research and experiments on the brain, to the first training sessions with cats and seizures, to how it looks today.  Robbins explains what Neurofeedback(sometimes referred to as Biofeedback) addresses in our brains, conditions it can help with, and what it actually does to train our brain.  He explores the evolution of the technology as well as the big players in the field.  He explores possible reasons it has not become as mainstream as other medical and mental health interventions and why it has not been adopted by the medical field.

Neurofeedback for those who have not experienced it, can seem “too good to be true” or more Science Fiction related.  Basically, Neurofeedback uses sensors placed on specific locations on the head, to read the electricity in the brain, provide “feedback” to the brain on this activity in the form of a game or movie screen, and then allows the brain to do with it what it wants to.  The brain responds by training itself to return to homeostasis and function the way it was meant to be before biology and life experiences interfered.  Neurofeedback has the ability to address many areas but the major ones are improved sleep, moods, attention, and pain management.  This technology has been featured in Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score.

I was required to read this book before I attended training at the Othmer Clinic(EEG Info).  Since I was interested in learning how to provide the service myself as well as had trained my brain, I found this book to be interesting and helpful in understanding the evolution of the technology.  It could be quite dry and boring for those who are not providing Neurofeedback training.

Read this book if:

  • You are a Neurofeedback practioner
  • Interested in the history of Neurofeedback

Buy it Here

Robbins, J., & Recorded Books, Inc. (2014). A Symphony In The Brain: The Evolution Of The New Brain Wave Biofeedback. New York, NY: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.


Simplify Your Practice

Savasana, the ending resting pose in most yoga classes, can conjure up all sorts of feelings. I would go as far to say that you either love it or hate it. How can one pose create such an emotional reaction? I would guess that those who hate it are challenged by the stillness and struggle with not “doing.” Maybe it’s just really hard to get comfortable on the floor, on your back. Perhaps the silence brings an awareness to your racing mind, and that is uncomfortable. I can also safely assume that those who love it, have developed that relationship over time. Those people understand that becoming aware of your racing mind, sensations in the body, and feelings that arise are just part of the package. It comes with the territory and it’s how we choose to meet all that arises is the difference.

Savasana is the most simple pose in any yoga practice but also the most complicated. All you are asked to do is lie on the floor and “be.” Be with your thoughts non-judgementally; be with sensations in the body without creating a story around them; be with any and all feelings that you notice; just be. You have no demands on you during this time. No errands to run, nobody asking you for anything, and no tasks.

If you embrace Savasana as a gift of the practice, I challenge you to stay longer, add more props for comfort and ease, and rest in it more frequently. Extend your time by just a few minutes each time you set yourself up; the longer the better. Commit to a regular practice of Savasana by keeping your props accessible, dedicating time in your daily schedule, and set a timer so that you have the boundary to go deeper.

If you are interested in a better relationship with Savasana, I challenge you to first, get really comfortable in your set up in the most quiet, peaceful place you can find. Set a timer for 5 minutes in the beginning and extend by a minute each time you commit to the practice. Cover yourself with a blanket and cover your eyes with an eye pillow or wash cloth if you are comfortable doing so. Meet all that you notice with compassion. You can choose to spend more time with it or you can choose to focus on the present which may include becoming aware of your breath. Consider it a refuge from life, a place to hit the “pause button.” Dedicate to a regular practice to gain the benefits of stillness and deep rest. I guarantee it will work wonders if you let it!

The fancy and beautiful poses are great. They make us feel powerful, balanced, and strong. Don’t get rid of your movement practice, it’s important too. I just ask you to simplify your practice, commit to doing less, and just be.

Join me Sunday, January 21, 2018 for a 2-hour workshop, “Advanced Savasana,” where we will explore 3 comfortable shapes as well as setting up a home practice, and enjoy a generous Savasana.

Katie Rodgers is a 200-hour registered Yoga Instructor who has trained extensively with Restorative Queen, Judith Hanson Lasater and combines Restorative Yoga with mental health talk therapy for overall mind-body well-being. Register at Noda Yoga.

Restorative Yoga for Emotional Balance @ Noda Yoga

Restorative Yoga Final

Register here.  Space is limited to 12 participants.

Katie’s Bookshelf: The Heart Speaks by Mimi Guarneri

heart speaksThe Heart Speaks by Mimi Guarneri is written by a cardiologist who lost several family members to heart disease.  She began her career as a cardiologist inserting stents in her patients to aid in blockages.  She began to notice that the same people continue to return for the same issues.  Simultaneously, a few of her patients began utilizing alternative medicine in conjunction with the western medicine she was applying.  Dr. Guarneri was skeptical at first but began to see progress in her patients who were using these methods.  She then founded the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego where holistic healing methods such as acupuncture, group therapy, biofeedback, and yoga were combined with conventional methods to aid in healing.

The book is divided into 3 parts and the second part was the most appealing to me as it went into the emotions of stress, anger, depression, and grief and how they affect the heart.  Dr. Guarneri noticed that when people began to open up and share themselves as well as what they are carrying around, the healing can truly begin.  Lastly, Guarneri states that “compassion, patience, and empathy” have shifted in the medical field and are desperately needed from doctors to their patients.

This book is fairly quick to read and not geared towards medical professionals so it can benefit the lay person.

Read this book if: 

  • You are interested in more information on the intersection of conventional and complementary medicine with a focus on heart disease
  • You are a practitioner of conventional or complementary medicine
  • You have been diagnosed with any type of heart disease, high blood pressure, or experienced a heart attack

Buy it Here

Guarneri, M. (2006). The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing. New York, NY: Simon & Shuster.

Listen: Changing the Face of Yoga Podcast

Stephanie Cunningham of “Changing the Face of Yoga” podcast recently interviewed Katie on how she integrates restorative yoga in her mental health practice to aid in managing symptoms of traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and self-injury.  Listen here or download in the podcast app on your iphone(Episode “Trauma”).

Changing the Face of Yoga (4)