There is a common misconception that restorative yoga is a class predominantly for people who are depleted, with injuries or recovering from an illness. Very often students come to class when they’ve hit burnout or an energetic low. Restorative certainly can benefit us in this instance but it serves us most when we practice regularly, keeping our energy reserves ‘topped up’ instead of running on empty. A proactive approach is a beautiful addition to your regular yoga practice and making deep rest an on-going priority is a way of empowering you for sustainable health. In essence, don’t wait until burnout to give yourself a nurturing and restful practice. Not possible to get to class? Take sanctuary at home with our favourite go-to props:
Bolsters: Keeping your bolster in a visible place means you’re much more likely to use it for a quick 5 minute reset in a restorative pose. Very simply, child’s pose with a bolster between your thighs, head turned to one side or lying in savasana with a bolster underneath your knees are two poses that are worth gifting yourself. Insight Timer is a great app that allows you to decide how long you want to stay in a pose or meditate so you can drift off without having to worry about keeping an eye on the clock. An added bonus is bolsters look just a beautiful on your bed as they do on your yoga mat.
Eye pillows: Donna Farhi said ‘quiet eyes, quiet mind’. Removing visual stimulation is a helpful tool to draw our attention inwards. Whether they are filled with lavender or linseed, chose an eye pillow that you love and will look forward to using. They can also double up as little weights to help you to ground – perfect for holding in each hand for savasana.
Blankets: The body temperature can drop quickly when we come to stillness so whatever pose you chose, covering your body with a blanket is a great idea. Blankets can be used in many ways so it’s best exploring or getting inspiration from class. A simple way to use it at home is to roll the blanket into a sausage shape and then, lying in savasana or constructive rest (lying on the back with the knees bent) – wrap the blanket around your head so that it’s feels like your head is resting in a little cocoon. The edges of the blanket can tuck round by the shoulders. It’s a great comforting tool to soothe a busy mind.
We hope when it’s not possible to get to class, these props and simple suggestions will help to inspire your own restorative practice. We have a feeling your body and mind will thank you.
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