Restorative classes are live! Join me on Sundays from 11 - 12:30 on Zoom for guided meditation and relaxation. This is a great way to get to know your props, or get creative with items around your house to fill in as props! No experience is necessary.
How it works: register for class online at https://stpaulyogacenter.com/schedule/
An hour before class begins, I will email you a link to the Zoom information so that you can join in. I'll open up the class about 15 minutes beforehand for those who like to arrive early.
It's easy and the feedback I've received so far has been positive! Some students are enjoying the practice from the comfort of their own home so much that they like it better than the old way of showing up for class! We shall see what the future holds.
Here are a few helpful hints for class:
As I enter the second trimester, I'm reminded how important my bolster was to me during my first pregnancy. I even brought it to bed when I was too uncomfortable to sleep! Here is a sample sequence of my all-time favorite poses while pregnant.
First off, side-lying savasana. Sooooo good. The bolster here supports my leg from the knee to the ankle, which maintains stability for the pelvis while off-loading the lower back. Sometimes I'll put a small roll under my arm, or a pillow to snuggle in front, but in this picture I'm just taking some quality time to connect with my babe while I relax. The brown bolster behind me provides stability, which you can recreate with the back of a couch or a wall if you've only got one bolster.
Next up, queen pose. Supta baddha konasana - my preferred position for meditation. I spend a bit of time connecting with the sensation of life within me, then switch my focus to breath, quietude, and observation....for as long as I can without being interrupted
And then of course there's child's pose. I have definitely fallen asleep in this pose because my back felt so good here. A lavender eyebag can be lovely to have resting on your neck.
I also like to end with some version of Legs Up the Wall. This picture demonstrates a pose I learned from the delightful Judith Hanson Lasater, which she calls Instant Maui. This variation is a great relief for low back pain, and when you put your legs on a chair you don't have to worry about tight hamstrings stealing the show! Tight hip flexors are relieved with this restorative version of bridge pose, setubandha sarvangasana, shown on the right.
Even just finding 10 minutes to practice one or two of these poses can be so rejuvenating. I find that I am kinder, more creative, and more energetic after a little silent self-care, and my body feels so much better for the rest of the day!
I consider this pose the ultimate restorative pose. When set up well, your entire body is supported with props for ultimate muscle release. Keeping your chest elevated will make pranayama, breathing exercises, much easier. Of course, it's an absolute bonus if you can share your practice with another living being, especially one small enough to act as a sandbag on your belly.
So...what's the best set-up?
Well, like so many restorative poses, it all really depends on your preferences. Some people love a big arch for their low back, while others prefer something subtler.
Once you have your bolster set up, make sure your arms and legs are supported and comfortable. You can use blankets or blocks, or even folded pillows.
Of course you can place an eyebag on your eyes, but for added ease and comfort, place one in each palm.
Practice the pose for as long as you are comfortable. If you are extremely fatigued or overwhelmed, set a timer and allow yourself to sink deeply, maybe even to the point of falling asleep. Some days you will be able to practice a calm, slow, meditative breath, and other days you can practice letting go of focusing on anything at all.
Setting this pose up takes a little time and effort, but it is well worth it. This is a lovely way to begin or end your practice.
Props involved: in the picture, there are several! A bolster is well placed to support the hips and lower back (while allowing the tailbone to drop down behind the bolster). If the bolster is too high, place a folded blanket underneath under back length-wise, making sure to support your head. Use an eyebag to block out the light and ease tension in your face with the light pressure of the flax. Arm rests are optional, and are fabulous options if your neck or upper chest feels tight.