Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes is such an incredible book! This is one of the first books I ever read about the intersection of yoga and mental health and informs so much of what I do as a teacher in the studio and when working with private clients. Bo Forbes is PsyD as well as a yoga instructor who has an incredible depth of knowledge on the two subject matters. Even if you don’t have depression or anxiety, this book can be helpful in that she classifies it as either on the one end of “lethargy” and the other end as “energetic.”
“Restorative Yoga helps you develop many of the characteristics of emotional balance, such as the ability to experience emotions without overreacting to them, and the capacity to recover from strong emotions when they occur. It supports the qualities that psychotherapy seeks to instill: greater resourcefulness, enhanced problem-solving skills, and a deeper connection with your innate wisdom. It helps you develop the mindfulness, discernment, and reflection that lead to healthier relationships.”
The book starts off by describing anxiety and depression and what gets in the way of healing, how the healing happens as well as finding meaning, and ends with very specific sequences for depression, anxiety, and balancing. She includes breathwork to use for different purposes as well as very detailed descriptions of the poses and pictures. I like the connection between poses to increase, decrease, or neutralize the energy in the body. This book is very accessible for anyone especially someone new to yoga. Her work is centered around Restorative Yoga which I have found too is the best complement to mental health work.
Read this book if:
You are interested in using yoga to help manage your emotions and the energy in the body
You are a yoga instructor interested in how yoga can be used for emotional balance
I 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
I recently completed Lasater Yoga’s 21-day Savasana Intensive. Seems strange that Savasana(relaxation) and intensive can go in the same sentence huh? Well THEY DO! Savasana can be one of if not the most difficult poses in yoga. “Why? You just lie on the floor?” Well yes. That’s where the real work happens. Not the outer body work that we are used to doing in a flow class. It’s more about the inner work. Savasana(or Relaxation Pose) is a place to land and notice. Things will present themselves during this stillness; feelings, thoughts, sensations, the dreaded “judgement” word, etc. In savasana, we can learn to sit through all of it without doing anything. We are so used to “doing” that we forget about “being.” Judith Hanson Lasater said during one of the audio recordings, “savasana prepares us for death.” Whoa. Sit with that for a minute.
Judith and her daughter, Lizzie lead the practitioner through 21-days of rest. Each day has either an audio recording about the art of savasana, or a video tutorial on setting up. A couple of days included guided meditation and breathwork to begin savasana. The expectation is to listen or watch then practice savasana for 20-minutes. You saw that I said “practice savasana” right? This time on your mat shows up differently each day and can be challenging in different ways. It is most certainly a practice.
I started this program in January and committed to practicing each day that I was at my office. I am fortunate to have a very peaceful “Breathe” room that is perfect for just this. I can confirm that I followed my plan. Looking back, I wish I had practiced everyday to really see the effects. The good news is that once you pay for the program, you have access to it forever. I will practice everyday next go-around.
I learned throughout the practice how sacred rest really is. I learned that I can take a break in the middle of the day for rest. I learned that a “real” savasana is at least 10-minutes. I learned new ways to set up savasana. I learned breathing techniques to lead in to savasana. I learned why savasana is so important. I learned that I need rest.
Do this program if:
You would like to take your understanding of savasana deeper
You are a yoga teacher(you get 20 CE hours upon completion!)