Category Archives: Restorative Yoga

Find Refuge from an Overwhelming World

Our on-the-go culture places value on striving, but if you don’t accept who you are, you’re cheating yourself out of health, happiness, and feeling whole. Here, learn how to find refuge from judgment. (Hint: It’s closer than you think.)

When you were growing up, I bet you had a special place of refuge you could go to for comfort. I had a favorite swing in my backyard that I would settle into when I felt the need for solitude. There, I found sanctuary in the fluid act of swaying back and forth, the cool breeze on my face as I floated through the air—up and down, back and forth.

When we take up the practice of yoga, becoming deliberately self-reflective, it eventually becomes apparent that taking refuge—from busyness and stress—is not about running away, but rather it is about deciding what you want to move toward. Refuge is not dependent upon a location at all. Rather, it is actually an intention we can choose. What do I mean? We can always opt to focus on that part of ourselves that is not made of thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations. We can choose to focus on that space behind our thoughts—on the silence from which we observe ourselves and the world and the space that we keep forgetting to notice.

See also An Intention-Setting Practice to Nourish the Soul

When you stepped on the mat in the first days of your yoga practice, you were likely still associating refuge with a specific place: the mat or the meditation cushion. Many practitioners believe that the sense of stillness they feel from their yoga is something that must come from what they have done rather than from who they are.

But Patanjali writes in his most famous Yoga Sutra (1:2): “Yoga is …

Boost Bliss (& Loosen Your Hips!) with This Restorative Gomukasana

It’s the perfect release following an energetic yoga practice.

Craving change but feeling too stuck, sluggish, or restless to take aim? Join John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com, and Larissa Hall Carlson, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, for Ayurveda 201: Six Weeks to Transformation and Bliss Through Ayurvedic Psychology. In this new online course, you’ll experience: unique yoga practices; inspiring discussions backed by science; and recipes, herbs, and a short, gentle cleanse. Sign up today!

After an energizing yoga flow, there’s one restorative pose that can help you boost harmony and bliss. (In Ayurveda, this easeful quality is called sattva.) This supported, supine variation of Gomukasana (Cow Face Pose) provides deep rest by elevating the legs and loosening tight hips. This soothing inertia rejuvenates!

See also 6 Bonus Sattva-Boosting Tips

You’ll need the following props: 2 blocks, 1 bolster, 1 blanket, and an eye pillow

Instructions

  • Place a block in the highest position about 6 inches from the bottom of your mat. From there place another block in the second-highest position about 6 inches up the mat.
  • Drape a bolster over the blocks to make a ramp for your legs.
  • Place folded blanket (and any additional supportive props you need) on the top half of the mat. 
  • Lay yourself down on the blanket with your knees pulled into your chest, placing your buttocks close to the bottom of the bolster ramp. 
  • Mindfully lengthen your left leg, crossing it to the right and placing your thigh on the bolster. Cross your right leg over y left thigh. 
  • Even out the weight in your hips and let both feet hang. 
  • Comfortably position your eye pillow, then broaden your shoulders and rest your hands on your belly. 
  • Hold for 1-3 minutes. Then reverse your leg crossing for another 1-3 minutes. 
  • Rest and renew!

See also:

These 10 Yoga Bolsters Are Perfect for a Restorative Home Practice

Let these yoga bolsters set you up for your most peaceful state.

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Hugger Mugger

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Incline

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Yoga Accessories

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Kakaos Yoga

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Brentwood Home

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A Yoga Therapist Shares The Truth About Trauma

Yoga therapist and psychologist Gail Parker, PhD, applies restorative practices in an innovative way to help people heal from racial wounds.

Gail Parker, PhD

Yoga Journal: Can you summarize your work?

Gail Parker: I’m a psychologist, a certified yoga therapist, and a yoga therapist educator. I am a lifelong practitioner of yoga. 50 years. As a practicing psychotherapist of 40 years, I pioneered efforts to blend psychology, yoga, and meditation as effective self-care strategies that can enhance emotional balance, and contribute to overall health and well-being.

I closed my psychotherapy practice four years ago, which allowed me to focus all of my attention on the therapeutic benefits of yoga, and in particular on how Restorative Yoga and meditation can be utilized and taught as self-care practices for managing ethnic and race based stress and trauma. I also teach mind-body strategies for reducing stress and healing emotional trauma to aspiring yoga therapists in the Beaumont School of Yoga Therapy in Royal Oak Michigan, the only hospital based yoga therapy school in the nation.

Yoga therapy is a type of therapy—grounded in the ancient philosophical teachings of yoga—that utilizes yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation as self-care strategies to improve mental and physical health and well-being.

See also The Healing Power of Trauma-Informed Yoga Classes

YJ: How do you apply this work to racial trauma (and can you define that term)?

GP: Ethnic and racial stress and trauma refer to the events related to real or perceived experiences of discrimination, threats of harm and injury, and humiliating and shaming events. The terms also apply to witnessing harm to other individuals caused by real or perceived race-related events.

Stress and trauma are stored in the body. Effective interventions involve physical engagement. Restorative Yoga is a form of yoga that is not intrusive; …

Feel More Present in Your Body with This Mindful Moving Meditation


Get grounded with a practice that combines mantra, movement, and breathing.

Feeling scattered or overwhelmed? Find tranquility with this breathing technique from Jillian Pransky, who leads our upcoming online course, Restorative 201. This gentle practice combines mantra, movement, and mindful breathing and will help you feel more focused and ready to face the challenges in your day.

Watch also Center Yourself ASAP with a 10-Breath Meditation

Want to thread the science of deep relaxation into your day? Join our online course, Restorative 201: Short, Simple Practices to Stay Calm on the Mat (and in the Moment). In five weeks Jillian Pransky will share bite-sized slow flow and restorative practices, breathing and meditation techniques, and quick reset tools—all designed to integrate into your life easily and immediately. Learn more and sign up today!

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A Short Mantra Practice to Stay Open and Grounded


Maintain inner harmony during moments of change with this 5-minute meditation.

Transitions can be difficult, whether you’re moving into a new season, a new home, or a new job. Bring yourself back into balance with this short meditation from Jillian Pransky, who leads our upcoming online course, Restorative 201. Here, she shows you an invaluable tool to restore inner harmony, whether you need to be more present or allow yourself to open up to new experiences.

Watch also Inspire Stability & Fluidity with This Short Tree Pose Flow

Want to thread the science of deep relaxation into your day? Join our online course, Restorative 201: Short, Simple Practices to Stay Calm on the Mat (and in the Moment). In five weeks Jillian Pransky will share bite-sized slow flow and restorative practices, breathing and meditation techniques, and quick reset tools—all designed to integrate into your life easily and immediately. Learn more and sign up today!

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Dealing with Transition? Tether Yourself to the Present with This 3-Part Breath


Stay in the moment during periods of change with this short mindfulness technique.

Feeling unmoored by change? Return to the present moment with a short three-part breathing practice that’s easy to do anytime you feel your mind drifting into the future, or lingering in the past. Here, Jillian Pransky—who leads our upcoming online course, Restorative 201—shows you a simple technique to trace the length of every inhale and exhale. Each breath will bring you closer to the here and now.

Watch also Create Instant Calm with This Legs-Up-the-Chair Pose

If you want to learn how to thread the science of deep relaxation into your day, join our online course, Restorative 201: Short, Simple Practices to Stay Calm on the Mat (and in the Moment) taught by international yoga teacher and author Jillian Pransky. You’ll learn bite-sized slow flow and restorative practices, breathing and meditation techniques, and quick reset tools—all designed to integrate into your life easily and immediately. Sign up today!

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