Tag Archives: Stress management

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.

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)

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.

Travel Restorative Yoga

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

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Supported Bound Angle

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Supported Bound Angle Pose is a back bend that will increase the energy in the body.  This position will open the chest, abdomen, and pelvis.  The benefits the pose offers the areas restricted by sitting and standing are tremendous.  Other benefits include helping those with high blood pressure, or breathing problems.  Bound Angle can also help relieve symptoms of menstruation and menopause.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you have spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis or if you continue to have any discomfort in your neck, spine, or knees after adjusting your props.

To set up this pose, you will need blocks, a bolster, and blankets.  A sandbag, strap, and eye pillow are optional.  Place your blocks at either the highest and medium level, or medium and lowest level.  Prop your bolster against the blocks.  If using a strap to help your feet stay in place, loop it around your lower back and on the outside blades of your feet.  Rolled blankets can be placed under your knees when your legs are in a diamond shape.  The shape of the diamond in your legs is dependent on your comfort level.  Place your bolster setup at your lower back and sacrum area and lean back until you are touching the bolster.  Tighten the strap until you feel supported and comfortable.  A sandbag may be placed on top of your feet and an eye pillow can be used to eliminate stimulation.  Place your arms by your side and add blankets or blocks for more support.  If you feel any discomfort in your neck, spine, or knees, come out of the pose and adjust your props or the shape of the diamond in your legs.

Once you are set up in the pose and comfortable, start to settle into the props and begin your inhales and exhales.  Stay in this pose as long as it is comfortable, average time may be 10-15 minutes.

To come out of the pose, remove the eye pillow, and place your palms on the mat to slowly lift your body away from the bolster.  Remove the strap and sandbag if used.  Stretch your legs out in front of you and spend a moment here preparing for what’s next.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.

Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.