Restore in December: How to Use Restorative Yoga to Survive the Holidays

December is such a crazy time of year, and we just finished up with Thanksgiving. Between the shopping, parties, the crazy drivers, and not to mention the increased family time, this month can create some anxiety. We may also be finding it harder to get to class, so why not slow down and bring your practice home a bit more? One of my best tips to surviving the holidays and making time for your health is to practice restorative yoga.

Restorative Yoga includes using props like blankets, bolsters, and blocks to allow you to sit or lay in a position for usually 10-20 minutes (at least 5). This extended, passive stretching gives the body time to soften and open slowly, thus also allowing your mind to really let go in the pose.

What To Expect: During restorative yoga poses, your head is typically below or in line with the heart to allow the heart and brain to relax. You can dim the lights and wear layers of clothes and socks since you won’t be moving much. Try using mudras, mantras, and/or different breathing techniques to help you sit through the extended postures.

Common Restorative Poses:

1)   Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

-You can put a bolster under your hips and lay blankets under you.

2)   Supported/Reclined Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)

-You can use pillows under the legs and under the head, but not under the shoulders.

3)   Supported Corpse Pose (Savasana)

-You can use a bolster under the knees for back pain and a pillow under the head, but not the shoulders.

4)   Supported Child’s Pose (Balasana)

-You can use a bolster between the legs against the pubic bone, and lay your torso down with the head to one side. Use pillow(s) under your head to be comfortable. Arms at your side. Use a block or blanket under your bum, if necessary. 

5)   Child’s Pose with a Chair (Balasana)

-Make sure the chair is at a comfortable height, and use pillows where you’ll cross your arms and support your head to one side.

**When desired, use sandbags for added weight (like on the back or legs) to help release and open the body more. You may also use eye pillows to help quiet the mind. 

Do you enjoy restorative yoga? Tell me your favorite postures in the comments section! (p.s. you have to click on the actual blog post title to see the comment box)

Top Row from left-Child's Pose with a Chair & Supported Child's Pose
Bottom Row from left-Legs Up the Wall & Supported Reclined Butterfly