‘Jump-start Your June’ Series: Using Restorative Yoga to Rest and Refuel-Guest Blog
Posted June 19, 2013on:
I feel lucky to call Julee Snyder both teacher and friend. I met her when I began my yoga teacher training almost a decade ago with Lisa Clark and David Beadle. She was already a massage practitioner, explorer of Body- Mind Centering (BMC) work, yoga innovator and an assistant teacher in Lisa and David’s program. Her wisdom, compassion and clarity make her a gifted teacher. All these qualities are present in her guest post.
Supporting Your Mid-Year Vision with Restorative Yoga
Some people love summer…the beach, pool, mountains, hiking, biking, vacationing and being outdoors. I often wish I was one of them. For me, it’s a second winter. I often find myself sequestered away in the air conditioning with blinds drawn to avoid the heat, the sun, the bugs and the sweat. Regardless of whether you come alive or wilt a bit in the summer months, it’s worth taking time to turn inwards and check-in with where your year is going and whether you are staying true to your authentic vision for your life.
Restorative yoga is a practice in consciously resting and turning inwards. Most yogis will note that the energy of their practice begins to pick up in late spring. We somehow feel called to twists and inversions, to stronger standing poses, and vinyasa. We want to sweat and move and come alive after turning inwards for the winter. The cycle begins to revert a bit once we hit the solstice and the heat of the summer is on us. Our poses are still strong, but more static. Please, by all means follow these internal rhythms. But don’t forget to include your restorative and meditation practices. A weekly resting practice to balance your active practices is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Include one resting pose per day followed by a five-minute meditation, if you can.
‘Legs-up-the-wall’ is one of my favorite restorative poses. All you really need is a quiet spot with open wall space and maybe something to elevate your pelvis and something to cover your eyes. When you’re ready:
1. come close to the wall
2. roll onto your back
3. swing your legs up the wall
4. shimmy as close as you can to the wall where your legs can rest comfortably long.
5. cover your eyes with an eye pillow or cool cloth.
6. hang out there for 5-20 minutes while focusing on your breath
When you come out, sit against the wall and set your timer for five minutes, but don’t push go right away. Next, practice alternate nostril breathing. Take your right hand and curl the middle three fingers exposing the thumb and pinky. Use your pinky to close your left nostril and inhale through your right nostril. Then close the right, open the left and exhale. Inhale left, close it, open right, and exhale. Continue this cycle for several rounds until you feel a calm state of mind. Then release your hands, hit go on your timer, and sit in quiet meditation for five minutes.
Now you are ready for your day (or maybe that writing practice)!
Julee Snyder is a massage and yoga therapist in Raleigh. For more information, go to www.jsbodywork.massagetherapy.com.