I must confess, as much as I love both meditation and exercise, I'm not much of a yogi. I am "blessed" with a combo of the world's longest torso, tightest hamstrings, and a skewed spine that make me look like Uncle Fester when attempting a Forward Fold. But yoga doesn't have to mean powering through pretzel poses, and there are numerous benefits to restorative yoga. Offering a more recuperative, healing experience aimed at slowing down the body and mind, restorative yoga is brilliant for balancing a busy lifestyle. Lucky for me, one of my best friends happens to be one of the city's best yogis, Rebecca Hajek.
To welcome the change of seasons with a strong mind and body, I asked Rebecca to help me with a simple routine that could be done in my own living room (or,ahem, studio apartment). What follows are 4 restorative poses to bring relaxation and support to anyone from the comfort of your own home.
To adopt this pose to be more restorative, set up for a regular bridge, and support the sacrum (triangular bone at the base of the spine) with something steady "at least 6 inches in height": blocks, or a stack of books work well.
Rebecca encourages that "having the block/books in place releases and opens up the shoulders and back. This pose increases spinal flexibility, especially in the spine's most inflexible thoracic region"
Pigeon helps you let go of your old hangups, both physical and emotional. Rebecca says that "the hips are storage bins of emotions, so the longer you are able to hold the pose, the more you are not only able to release hip and psoas tension, but emotional as well. Placing a blanket or pillow underneath the hip of the bent knee will even out the hips and allow for you to fold forward and hold the pose for a longer period of time. "
FEET UP THE WALL
Inversions are any pose where the head is lower than the heart, and this one is mellow and accessible to all without tension or stress on the body.
"Inversions help to flow the blood to the heart and allow a more efficient flow of blood through the veins and lymph channels of lower extremities stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic system." So it's great for immunity and detoxification as well as "varicose veins, edema (swelling of the feet) and relieving menstrual cramps." says Rebecca.
Child's pose is always restorative, and is often used in yoga anytime you need to take a break. But Rebecca says that by "placing a pillow underneath to prop up the head, it helps to lengthen the cervical spine. We carry a lot of tension in the head, neck and shoulders - and Child's Pose helps to relieve some of that tension."
Rebecca recommends staying in each of these poses for at least 2 minutes, but recommends holding for 5-10 if you can. These are a perfect way to wind down after a long day, or prepare for a restful night's sleep.
WARDROBE CREDITS & BEAUTY
Lavender sports bra by VIPE
Buddha print leggings by eco-friendly yoga brand, Noli, sold at JUJA Activewear
Rebecca anointed my temples with Yuni's balancing aroma concentrate before this shoot and I went full zen mode instantly. I'm obsessed with their line of natural, botanical, paraben/pthalate/toxin free beauty products aimed at health conscious girls on the go, and I'll be doing a giveaway with them soon too, so make sure to follow me on @natty_style to learn more!
For info on working with Rebecca directly, CLICK HERE