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Restorative Yoga: a practice for when you are weak, fatigued or stressed out … any time!

This week we focused on Restorative Yoga. Restorative Yoga is based on the Iyengar method of supporting your body with props to benefit from the poses without straining thereby reducing the risk of injury. This weeks lesson was inspired by Judith Hanson Lasater’s book, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times.

Restorative Yoga helps heal the effects of chronic stress which can build up and cause disease.. To relax is to rest deeply, but not sleep. There is no effort, no movement, and the brain is quiet. It is a practice for when you are weak, fatigued or stressed out … any time!

KerryB&WHow does it work?
1. Use of props provides complete relaxation and support.
2. The spine is moved gently in all directions
3. Inversions are included to undo the effects of gravity and increase circulation and balance hormone levels.
4. The internal organs are alternately stimulated and soothed.
5. Energy levels are balanced in the body so you are neither overstimulated or depleted.

Our practice was a variation on Judith Hanson Lasater’s Relax and Renew Sequence. We focused on the breath and on developing body awareness to recognize the effects of the practice on the body, on our energy and other sensations or feelings that arose during the 90 minute workshop.

Simple Supported Back Bend
Supported Bound Angle
Mountain Brook Pose
Supported Bridge Pose
Elevated Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
Reclining Twist with Bolster
Supported Child’s Pose
Basic Relaxation Pose with Legs Elevated.

Participants loved the practice and asked for more like this! Everyone’s favorite pose is the Supported Bound Angle (with or without the “bound angle” of the legs) which is often described as better than a lazy boy chair!

Watch the schedule and Facebook page for upcoming events including more Restorative Yoga. Private lessons including restorative practices can be booked at any time to help with your personal yoga practice.

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Spring is here!

We have focused on grounding and stabilizing for building strength to grow into more difficult poses.
Are you spending too much time sitting at your desk? Open up your hips with leg stretches with a tie or belt before moving into more challenging (but OH SO NICE) poses like pigeon prep. Body awareness brings attention inward and can help find and reduce tension / anxiety.
Don’t forget to take time for your self. I saw a super cute yoga t-shirt that said “I’m just here for Savasana”

What is it that brings you back to your mat – in class or at home?

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Expanding the breath…

Tonight our theme was Expanding the Breath and we explored how the breath moves our side body through breath awareness and movement.
 
Exploration of Breath:
We contrasted holding our abs in versus releasing habitual tension in the belly. How low did you go? Could you feel the breath moving your tail bone? Could you feel the breath widening your pelvic bones? 
 
Movement explorations:
Upper body (arms, shoulders, neck, face) for movement and tension release. 
6 movements of the spine and various other exercises from table pose (don’t forget to protect your wrists).
Sitting and twisting
Moon Salutations
 
Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t force the movement. Know that you may use a strong dose of imagination at first as you visualize the movement deep in your body. Once you locate the places with tension and release them, your body and your breath will begin to move with more fluidity.
 
Resources:
“The Breathing Book” by Donna Farhi
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Opening the Heart Centre…

This week’s focus was on Opening the Heart Centre
Exploration of Breath:
Can you focus your attention on your breath without changing it?
What is your body doing while you breath?
Can you relax in the pause at the end of the exhalation?
Movement with the breath – sitting in chair vs lying down vs standing
Pause, enjoy, relax, breath.
 
Movement explorations:
Arm stretches/chest openers at the wall
Arm swings, step forward and back
Sun Salutations
 
Remember, you might not be able to notice your breath yet, but your brain will soon catch up to what your body already knows.
Be kind, gentle, inquisitive and non-judgemental as you explore how to release tension and holding patterns using simple movements.
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