Tag Archives: props

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.

Katie’s Bookshelf: Relax and Renew by Judith Hanson Lasater

relaxandrenewI just completed Level 1 training of Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew: Learning to Teach Restorative Yoga so it’s fitting to review the book.  This is the book for all things restorative yoga.  She provides information on the benefits of this type of yoga and a thorough explanation on all of the props used as well as how to make props out of regular household items.  Several chapters have specifically designed sequences for such things as basic relaxation, insomnia, travel, pregnancy, and back pain.  Each chapter has beautiful photographs of each pose, a description of how to get in and out of the pose, how long to stay in, as well as benefits and cautions.  This book is accessible for the novice, experienced yogi, or teacher.

Relax and Renew is not designed to be read from cover to cover, but more of a “take what you need” approach.  If you are interested in restorative yoga, this is where you start!

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in learning more about restorative yoga
  • Have a desire to teach restorative yoga

 

Buy it here.

Lasater, J. H., & Schatz, M. P. (2011). Relax and renew: restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley: Rodmell.

Restorative Yoga @ Noda Yoga

File_000 (1)Join Katie Rodgers, LCSW & RYT-200 at Noda Yoga(3201 North Davidson Street, above Cabo Fish Taco) every Thursday at 9:30am and every other Sunday at 5pm for a 75-minute Restorative Yoga Class.  No prior experience is needed and this type of yoga can accommodate all body types.  Katie is a “Relax and Renew® Advanced Trainer” through Judith Hanson Lasater.

Restorative Yoga is best described as “conscious relaxation.”  This type of yoga is the most effective in calming and relaxing the body which in turn, relaxes and settles the mind.  So often our bodies operate from the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for keeping us alert as well as preparing for incoming stressors.  This is that “fight, flight, or freeze” mode the we have all experienced.  Our bodies can handle being in this mode, however it is not equipped to be here ALL the time.  The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for our rest, rejuvenation, and relaxation.  It is beneficial to tap into this system more than we do.

In restorative yoga, poses are held longer with the support of props.  All poses are on the ground and the body is fully supported in order to sink into the pose.  Because the body is fully supported, messages are sent to the brain to release tension and relax.  The longer the poses are held, the more tension is released, and then the mind and body can deeply relax.

Oftentimes in restorative yoga, people will start to learn more about their body, such as where they hold tension or where pain is originating from.  As a result of this practice, tension is released in those areas in our day to day lives.

The practice is meditative in nature complemented with rhythmic breath work to calm the fluctuations of the mind.

Restorative yoga can bring up emotions and thoughts that have been neglected or are lingering in the body.  This type of yoga teaches us to acknowledge these emotions and thoughts without doing anything as they will be released.  This is an important lesson that will follow off the mat.

Restorative yoga compliments a busy, stressful lifestyle and is generally accessible for all levels and types of bodies.

Travel Restorative Yoga

Tips on how to be creative with props in a hotel room to utilize restorative yoga poses.