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Winter Self Care - How Restorative Yoga can help

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

By incorporating restorative yoga into your winter routine, you can create a cosy space for whole body wellbeing, relaxation, and inner peace.

Slowing down and finding stillness in restorative poses can offer several self care benefits, including:

1. Stress Relief: The holiday season can be busy and overwhelming. Restorative yoga poses help activate the relaxation response in the body, reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm and tranquility.

2. Deep Relaxation: Restorative poses are designed to support the body with props, allowing for a longer and more comfortable hold. This enables the body and mind to enter a state of deep relaxation, releasing tension and promoting restful sleep.

3. Rejuvenation: Restorative yoga poses help to restore energy and vitality to the body. By allowing the body to fully relax and restore, you can recharge and feel more refreshed.

4. Improved Well-being: Restorative yoga poses can help improve overall well-being by promoting better circulation, reducing muscle tension, and enhancing the body's natural healing abilities. This can lead to a greater sense of physical and mental well-being.

5. Mindfulness and Presence: The practice of restorative yoga encourages mindfulness and being present in the moment. By focusing on the breath and sensations in the body, you can cultivate a deeper connection with yourself and the holiday season, fostering a sense of gratitude and joy.

Gather together some pillows , cushions or a bolster and a couple of blankets to pop under/over you for extra warmth/comfort.  If you have yoga blocks too, find those.  More is definitely more!  You want to be well supported, comfortable and warm. If you have an eye pillow or scarf to cover the eyes, even better! Stay in each shape for several minutes - enjoy the poses below!

1. Reclined Butterfly: Lie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall open to the sides. Support your knees/backs of thighs with pillows or blankets if needed. Place your arms out to the side, palms facing up or pop your hands on your belly and take slow, deep breaths.  If you have a bolster, create a ramp to lie back on, pehaps with yoga blocks under the head end to add height.

2. Supported Child's Pose (Balasana): Kneel on the floor and bring your big toes together, keeping your knees apart. Place a bolster or pillows between your thighs and rest your torso on it. Extend your arms forward or place them beside your body, allowing your forehead to rest on the bolster. I like a folded blanket between my hips and heels.

3. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Sit sideways close up against a wall and swing your legs up onto the wall as you lie back. Have a handy cushion to pop under your head and a blanket to cover yourself up with.  Support your lower back by having a folded blanket or bolster under your bottom. Relax your arms by your sides and close your eyes. Stay in this pose for several minutes, focusing on your breath.

4. Supine Spinal Twist: Lie on your back and bring your knees into your chest. Extend your arms out to the sides in a T position. Slowly drop your knees to one side, using a bolster or pillows to support them. It can be nice to have a blanket or soft yoga block between the knees. Turn your head in the opposite direction and relax into the twist. Repeat on the other side.

5. Savasana or corpse pose. The ultimate relaxation. Pop a bolster or pillow under your knees and rest here for as long as you have time for.

I hold monthly one hour restorative yoga classes, in person and online, if this style appeals to you.

I like to incorporate the theme of patience in our winter classes.

Here's a winter poem I love which epitomises this from the Irish poet, John O'Donahue

"This is the time to be slow,

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.

Try as best you can

Not to let the wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous

Time will come good

And you will find your feet again

On fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning"

Enjoy resting and recuperating a little over the winter. Find time to slow down, be dormant and nourished like a seed, waiting to flourish when the season changes once more,


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