Best benefits of restorative yoga:
Restorative yoga offers the practitioner an opportunity to explore different aspects and benefits of practice that are often overshadowed by more dynamic styles.
A restorative yoga practice frequently relies on the use of props, prolonged holding in safely aligned asana sequences, meditation, pranayama and relaxation. Excellent for active physical recovery, balance, stress management,a restorative yoga class can explore different safe alignment skills through therapeutic themes.
Let’s take a look at Child’s pose (balasana)
Active childs pose
This is often called a resting pose, and can certainly be that. The variation in the above photo is dynamic, and often used as a preparation for downward facing dog. The props are used to wake up the spine and the shoulders as well as encourage conscious breathing into the back body. In a vinyasa, holding the pose for 5 or 10 breaths can offer the practitioner a break from the activity of the practice. However, many students cannot actually ‘let go’ in the pose, whether due to stiffness or pain or just inability to perform it safely. So…is it really restorative?
Now take a look below. Here, props are used to bring the pose to the person, encourage release, and the arms are taken out of the equation. There is no pulling, but the arms lines, shoulders, hips and spine are safely letting go of tension.
I encourage you to uncover some of the benefits! Restorative Yoga Classes can be booked privately or check my Calendar
restorative child’s pose
Child’s pose – called Balasana in Sanskrit is one of the prone poses in yoga, meaning the face is down rather than up. In some yoga schools they refer to it as embryo pose as well. For some people, bending this way is really uncomfortable, which is one reason why strategic prop placement is important. For example, in an active (unsupported) variation, the challenge is to bring the sitting bones to the heels and forehead to floor.
These actions require a lot of lengthening from the spinal extensors, gluteals, piriformis, calves, feet. You also need to be able to widen the knees in order to make room for the front spine/belly. It is a pose where tightness in the hip flexors will show up and it may be hard to feel anything other than congestion and the inability to breathe. A helpful tip obviously practicing this pose on a full stomach – suffocating. So – in order to allow gravity to work for you rather than against you, in order for your nervous system to approach calm – which is the idea behind it, the props you use matter. Here, you can see we used a bolster, folded blanket, and 2 ThreeMinuteEggs. These just helped with tightness in the shoulders and actually freed up more space in the side ribs to be able to access a calm breath. Also, you can see how the hips and shoulders are kept in the same plane, instead of having one pull on the other. Generally, done this way, child’s pose can help blood flow to the pelvis, relieve some general back tension, and improve the flexibility of the hips. There are many ways, many options so contact me to help set you up in this fine pose!
It can be really uncomfortable or really relaxing and restorative. Sometimes in a vinyasa class, child’s pose is used as a segway or prep to downward facing dog.