Weighting: Savasana – Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

Weighting: Savasana – Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

{WATCH} RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION – WEIGHTING THE BODY

Did you know that weighting poses has the capacity to be soothing for people with depression or lethargy, while for those with anxiety it can feel grounding? I first came across this during my first training with Judith Hanson Lasater in 2012. I have found weighting helpful as a tool for addressing my own anxiety.

In this video, filmed at Embody Wellness, I am using a bolster on my torso for weighting. If you have access to sandbags you can use those, but this can also practised this with the aid of blankets.

To practice this version of Savasana it is helpful to have extra support. Here I am using blankets and bolsters but this can also be practised with cushions and pillows if you do not have access to yoga bolsters. (TIP – two bed pillows wrapped up in a sturdy blanket into a sausage shape will create a similar depth to a bolster.)

Comfort is of the utmost importance, so it can be helpful to have support under the head, under the backs of the thighs or knees and under the Achilles – play around with the props you have to hand and see what works best for you.

Here I am also using an eye pillow to cover my eyes and block out the light. The gentle weight of the eye pillow is quite soothing too. You may also want to cover yourself with a blanket for extra warmth.

Aim to remain in your Savasana for 5 to 30 minutes – as long as feels comfortable.

This is one of the poses we practised in my recent Restorative Yoga for Anxiety workshop here at Embody Wellness. I will be teaching this workshop again later in 2017 with some different pose variations. If you are interested in coming along keep an eye on my ‘Events & News’ page or visit http://www.embodywellness.co.uk/works… for more details when they become available. You can also keep up to date on all my workshops and classes by subscribing to my monthly newsletter on my homepage at http://www.ucanyoga.co.uk/

NB – Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, speak to your doctor before practising yoga.

WORKSHOP: Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

WORKSHOP: Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

Saturday 27th May | 2pm to 4pm | Embody Wellness

Widespread research has shown that relaxation practices such as restorative yoga have numerous benefits including the ability to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Related to this, restorative yoga also facilitates mindful awareness of the body which plays a part in our resilience to stress.

In this 2-hour workshop we will practice restorative yoga poses with an emphasis on helping to relieve anxiety. If you have anxiety, restorative yoga can be particularly challenging because the mind has less to focus on than with a more active practice and, consequently, any concerns you have been suppressing may start to arise once the body begins to relax. However, this does not mean you should avoid practicing restorative poses. It is precisely during times of feeling highly stressed or anxious that these practices can be of the greatest benefit. We will use props to support the body in ways that have been shown to allow both mind and body to feel safe and grounded.

It is not that one pose or one workshop will ‘cure’ anxiety, but in this workshop we will experience restorative poses that can be used together or separately, along with focused breathing, as part of your own toolkit when you need them. (I will share tips on recreating poses for yourself at home.)

As an experienced Restorative Yoga teacher and an Advanced Relax Renew Trainer, having studied with Judith Hanson Lasater, I have found Restorative Yoga to be an effective tool for addressing my own anxiety.

Advance booking is required. Secure your place by booking via the Embody Wellness website here or call the studio directly on 020 7099 0048

Weighting: Legs Up the Wall – Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

Weighting: Legs Up the Wall – Restorative Yoga for Anxiety

Weighting: Legs Up the Wall

In this short video, filmed at Embody Wellness, I am using a bolster on my feet for weighting. If you have access to sandbags you can use those, but I have also practised this with the aid of blankets and blocks. We practised this version of Legs Up the Wall during my 6pm Friday Flow & Yoga Nidra class at Embody (where I usually incorporate a few restorative poses at the end of the class) a few weeks ago when we had a smaller class and more wall space for everyone present.
Did you know that weighting poses has the capacity to be soothing for people with depression or lethargy, while for those with anxiety it can feel grounding? I first came across this during my first training with Judith Hanson Lasater in in 2012. I have found weighting helpful as a tool for addressing my own anxiety.
I am teaching a RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR ANXIETY WORKSHOP on Saturday 27th May at Embody Wellness. If you are interested in coming along, you can find full details and booking at www.embodywellness.co.uk/workshops
Supported Bridge into Supported Shoulderstand

Supported Bridge into Supported Shoulderstand


This is one of the restorative poses we regularly practice during the second half of SLOW FLOW YOGA – Mondays 6.30-7.30pm reCentre Health in Balham.

In this short video filmed at reCentre I show you how to do this restorative inversion with the aid of a bolster and a yoga belt. Here, the sacrum (directly below the lumbar spine) is supported by a bolster (or you can use cushions or a sturdy yoga block if you don’t have access to a bolster). Just a few of the benefits of Supported Bridge Pose can include:

– Helps to relieve stress and low moods
– Helps to calm the nervous system (activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is in charge of the body’s ‘rest and digest’ activities)
– Can help to reduce fatigue
– Stretches the spine from the shoulders all the way to the tailbone
– Can help to relieve lower back pain
– Stretches and opens the chest

Start by sitting on the bolster and place a looped belt around your lower legs. With knees bent and soles of both feet on the floor, place your hands on the floor behind you, lift your hips and slide them forward so that you can rest your sacrum (the flat bony place just below your lower back curve) onto the bolster. Then using your hands ease yourself back onto the floor so that you are in a Supported Bridge position. Allow your arms and hands to rest where they feel most comfortable – you may wish to rest arms by your side, or rest hands on your lower abdomen or reach arms back to the floor behind you as I am doing in this video.

To transition into Supported Shoulderstand, lift your feet into the air. This can be a nice alternative to Legs Up the Wall if you do not have access to wall space.

Rest here for up to five minutes or for as long as you feel comfortable.

Fancy practising this is class? Join us for Slow Flow Yoga – Mondays 6.30-7.30pm at reCentre Health, Balham.

Rest + Renew eBook for You

Rest + Renew eBook for You

Download my NEW complimentary eBook here

Do you want to address your stress? Are you sleep deprived? Anxious? Then my new eBook is for You.

As an experienced Restorative Yoga teacher (I am an Advanced Relax and Renew Trainer having studied with Judith Hanson Lasater) and dedicated student I am excited to share my new book with you.

In ‘Rest + Renew’ I’ve put together some simple moves using Restorative Yoga that you can do in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need any previous experience of yoga to practise and reap the benefits of Restorative Yoga.

What is Restorative Yoga?

This style of yoga quiets the nervous system in a way that a regular yoga practice doesn’t quite reach.

I sometimes joke that it looks like ‘adult naptime’ as it may appear to be a lot of lying around, but in fact there is a lot happening at a deeper level as this practice calms the body’s ‘fight flight’ response and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the autonomic nervous system that is in charge of our bodies’ ‘rest and digest’ activities.

While the body is supported by various props (items you can find easily at home such as pillows, cushions or blankets), there is no need to ‘hold’ a posture, so you are able to completely let go, giving the body the opportunity to rest properly.

Among many things, Restorative Yoga is known to:

  • Tame tension
  • Relieve stress
  • Ease anxiety
  • Help insomnia
  • Ease digestive issues

To read more and to start practising, get your eBook by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy your Restorative Yoga practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga Nidra – Dreaming of Yogic Sleep

Yoga Nidra – Dreaming of Yogic Sleep

“Yoga Nidra can be understood as a total practice of yoga itself… a state of ‘awakened sleep’ … in this state (we encounter) auto-suggestive experience of the power of the unconscious mind and its linkage with the soul.” – Sri Ram Sharam Acharya.

What is Yoga Nidra?

The word ‘nidra’ translates as ‘sleep’, hence the term ‘yogic sleep’. Put simply, Yoga Nidra can be described as a form of meditation, though it is not so much a practice or technique as a state of being. It can be seen as an altered state of consciousness – neither being asleep or awake, but a state in-between. Sometimes, Yoga Nidra is referred to as ‘conscious sleep’ as the physical body is resting, but the mind remains awake and aware. Yoga Nidra brings about total physical, emotional and mental relaxation. Just a few of the reported benefits include reduced stress, improved sleep and a greater sense of wellbeing but Yoga Nidra can also be used as a means to help heal emotional and physiological wounds. For instance, the work of Richard Miller with US Army veterans with PTSD has produced impressive results. As one US Marine veteran comments on Richard Miller’s iRest (‘integrative-Restoration’ Yoga Nidra) website,

I truly believe that iRest helps to save my life every day. It has given me the hope and strength I needed to reconnect myself to the world again.” 

For my own personal experience of Yoga Nidra, it has helped (and continues to help) me find self-acceptance. As Rod Stryker (teacher, founder of ParaYoga and author of The Four Desires) describes, Yoga Nidra,  “…opens a doorway to a place where we can see ourselves and our lives in the most positive light.”

As a student I have experienced Yoga Nidras across a range of traditions – Himalayan, Satyananda and iRest (Richard Miller) – and experienced different benefits from all of them, and so when I wanted to deepen my studies in this area in order to share Yoga Nidra with more people, I trained with Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Nirlipta Tuil and Ben Woolf in Total Yoga Nidra. Total Yoga Nidra delves into all these different lineages and shows us that there is no one ‘right way’.

How do I ‘do’ Yoga Nidra?

One of the great beauties of this is that you don’t have to do yoga or meditate in order to experience Yoga Nidra, making it accessible to almost anyone. As a practitioner, all that is required of you is to lie down (or sit) in a comfortable position, listen and be willing to become effortless, or in other words, enter an effortless state of being. Restorative Yoga poses such as a Basic Relaxation Pose (Supported Savasana) or Supported Reclining Pose are ideal positions for Yoga Nidra as the body is completely supported and comfortable, thus creating the conditions for both body and mind to let go more easily. If you have classes available in your area then it can be wonderful to experience live ‘in person’ Yoga Nidra, but you can also listen to recordings meaning that you can access Yoga Nidra whenever you need it at the times which work best for you.

I have recorded short 10-15 minute practices which are available through my website here. I will be regularly adding more Yoga Nidra and meditation recordings to this page. I have been asked by many people over the past couple of years for recordings, so I hope you will enjoy them.

If you are based in London I teach a weekly Friday Flow with Yoga Nidra class at Embody Wellness Vauxhall and a Flow & Restore with Yoga Nidra class at Create in Raynes Park. Each class has a 15 minute Yoga Nidra at the end. As I type, I have also have two upcoming workshops which each include 30-45 minute Yoga Nidras:

  • Saturday 19th NovemberYin Yoga, Yoga Nidra & Gong Bath – 6.30-8.30pm at Embody Wellness in Vauxhall
  • Sunday 18th DecemberWinter Solstice Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra – 2-4pm at reCentre Health in Balham.

On both of these workshops I will be collaborating with Gong Practitioner, Patricia Carlota. For full details of these workshops please click here.

And don’t forget, if you sign up to my mailing list through www.ucanyoga.co.uk you will receive a complimentary 15 minute Yoga Nidra too.