Tag Archives: stress

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 – Relaxation Pose

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Relaxation Pose is the more important shape in restorative yoga.  If you have time for one yoga pose during your day, do this one.  Relaxation pose lowers blood pressure and heart rate, enhances immunity, helps with insomnia, reduces fatigue, releases any muscular tension and can help manage chronic pain.  This pose will neutralize energy in the body and you will not feel any stretching in the body as the goal is a complete release.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you are more than 3 months pregnant or feel any pain or discomfort.  This pose can be replaced with side-lying pose if you are unable to do this pose.

To set up this pose, you will want to have a bolster, a few blankets, eye pillow, and possibly sand bags for added weight.  Place your bolster horizontal on your mat approximately where your knees will be.  Use one blanket as a neck roll for more support.  Have another blanket handy to cover your entire body as your body temperature will drop while lying flat.  Lean back slowly to where the bolster is supporting the backs of your knees.  If your feet don’t touch the floor, place a blanket, pillow, or other support underneath them.  Place the neck roll under your neck to where your chin is slightly lower than your forehead.  If you feel any pinching in your lower back, place a folded blanket vertical under your lower back.  Place another blanket on top of your entire body.  Your arms can be out to the side palms facing up or down, whichever is more comfortable for you.  If you would like to add some weight to this pose, you can place a sandbag across your pelvis which will encourage your lower back to release.  Sandbags can be placed on each shoulder or propped on a block with the edge pressed gently on your forehead.  Lastly, place your eye pillow over your eyes to reduce stimulation.

You may began a rhythmic breath pattern or settle into your natural inhales and exhales.  A cleansing breath(inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth) may be a nice way to began the pose as it will signal to the body to relax.  You can stay in the position as long as it is comfortable.  Average time will be between 10-20 minutes as you need enough time to experience the wonderful relaxation that this pose brings.

When you are ready to come out of relaxation pose, remove your eye pillow and sandbags.  Bring some slight movement to your fingers and toes.  Roll over to your left or right side and spend several moments in a side-lying position to notice the effects of the rest.  When you are ready, use your top hand pressed into the ground to slowly and deliberately press yourself into a seated position.

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.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Legs Up the Wall

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Legs up the wall is an inversion that helps reverse the natural blood flow and pooling of blood in the feet.  This pose can be practiced everyday and is beneficial to reduce fatigue and swelling in the legs and can be a nice relief after standing on your feet all day.  This pose may help lower blood pressure for those with mild hypertension.  This pose will neutralize energy in the body and you may feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  Avoid this pose if you have high uncontrolled blood pressure, heart problems, retinal issues, spondylolisthesis, or spondylolysis.  If you experience any pressure in your head, avoid this pose and try a gentler inversion.  Avoid this pose if you are more than 3 months pregnant or have a heavy menstruation.

You don’t need any props to enjoy this pose(especially if you are traveling), but may enjoy this pose more with the use of props.  You will want to have a couple of blankets, bolster, eye pillow, and perhaps a sandbag.  Sit with either your right or left hip against the wall and start to lean back while swinging your legs up the wall.  Experiment with different distances from the wall as you do not need to be right against it.  If using props, experiment with a tri-folded blanket or bolster under your hips.  You may want to place a neck roll underneath your neck for added support.  Place your arms out to the side or in a “t.”  You can place a sandbag on the tops of your feet for added weight and an eye pillow to reduce stimulation.  You can have a slight bend in your knees if your hamstrings are tight and you can place the soles of your feet against the wall for more comfort.  You may consider adding a blanket on top of your chest or wrapping a blanket around your legs as your body temperature will cool during this pose.

Once you are settled into the pose, begin your rhythmic inhales and exhales.  You may notice sensation in your legs as the blood travels down towards your heart and brain.  Stay in this pose as long as it is comfortable.  Average time may be 7 to 15 minutes.

When you are ready to come out of the pose, remove any eye pillows and blankets.  You can either push your body off of your props and away from the wall or roll onto your side with your knees in your chest and in a side-lying position.  Spend a moment or two here adjusting to the pose.

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.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.

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.