Updated: Sep 9
A restorative yoga practice is a wonderful way to stretch your body, loosen muscles and joints, and help with balance, posture and strength. Your practice can gently and progressively be built to more intensity as you need.
One of our students mentions that yoga helped her in more than one way. She explains that after making solid progress regaining some of her health, she began yoga and her practice was instrumental to stretch her body, regain strength, appease her mind and fall pregnant.
She says "I found that as long as I took morning classes when my body was relatively fresh, I was able to make it through a class without overly fatiguing. The fact that a good instructor will provide students with various levels of intensity meant that if I was tiring I could pull it back a notch without letting go of the technique"
"Yoga gave me the chance to stretch, strengthen and even get breathless on multiple repetitions of salute to the sun without high impact or jarring on tired joints and muscles. It was also a chance to get in touch with my body which I hadn't been able to do in a long time and to refresh my mind in the process." she says.
She admits that the biggest benefit of yoga has been in helping with her fertility. "After a year of fruitless trying followed by 15 months of hard work and blood tests my doctor gave me the go ahead to resume trying for a baby and I fell pregnant right away!"
Restorative yoga usually uses props to support the body into poses, so the person can practise with minimal efforts and relax into the poses. One of the many advantages of using yoga as part of treatment is its ability to help restore and conserve energy rather than depleting it, as physical exercices can often do. Yoga can help to re-establish balance in the mind and body as well as soothe the nerves. In addition, it increases blood circulation and oxygen flow without irritating the body.
Restorative yoga can help to decrease mental and physical stress through breathing practice, relaxation, meditation and postures. Yoga brings presence and mindfulness into what we do. Through the different practices we learn to reconnect to ourselves, to our bodies and minds. In times of healing, this heightened awareness helps us to be able to listen to our body and exercise according to its needs.
The emphasis should be on supporting the healing process through practices that restore, nurture and helps to reconnect.
Full article (Easy does it with yoga) appeared in M.E and You ME/CFS Journal November 2012. Editor Silvana Wiggins.
SIMPLE RESTORATIVE PRACTICE
all poses are supported
bolsters can be substituted with pillows and blankets
ease into the pose gently and adjust your support until you feel comfortable
come out of the pose gently
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
leave 4 hours after you've eaten before doing your practice
listen to your body and work with it, not against it
if it feels good continue, if not, adjust yourself or come out of it. Focus on comfort
PRACTICE IN BED
You can practise the following gentle joint movements, breathing and relaxation in bed:
Joint Movements (repeat as many times as it feels comfortable):
rotate your right wrist then left one
rotate your right ankle then your left one
stretch your neck forward, back and to each side
dorsiflexion and extensions: stretch your legs out pointing your toes then flex your feet
Breath Awareness: (sit or lie down for the practice)
Close your eyes
Breathe in and out normally
Watch your breath consciously and pay attention to how you feel
Pay attention to the breath moving in and out through your nostrils, down to your lungs and back up and out again.
Gentle Breath Practice: (sit or lie down for the practice)
Close your eyes
Start with breath awareness
When comfortable, begin to depend the ins and outs of the breath
Breathe in, filling up your lungs as long as it is comfortable to do so. Breathe out, emptying your lungs as long as it is comfortable to do so.
Do not push or force, do not strain yourself.