Another week, another restorative yoga practice, another opportunity to completely relax, and of course – restore.
This week’s practice centers on weight loss, reducing stress, rebalancing the hormones, promoting mindfulness, and stimulating the digestive system. Which at first glance, restorative yoga might seem like a strange antidote to weight loss, but hear me out JJ community.
First, this class is for everyone, underweight, the right weight (WTF does that even mean), and overweight. It’s an all-inclusive practice that everyone can do.
Second, restorative yoga is the practice of relaxation, helping to combat stress from our day-to-day lives. And with our modern world spinning faster and faster, it’s no wonder that a healthy lifestyle becomes compromised. I learned this firsthand while working at three different corporations and watching people deteriorate before me due to stress.
It’s a serious problem.
Snack machines. Fast food. Endless caffeine. Long working hours. Business travel. Office politics. Heated conversations, sometimes arguments. Raised energy levels. Feeling at risk of blame, shame, and possibly termination.
….. does any of that sound familiar?
When we live in this constant state of fight or flight, it triggers a complex shift in our hormones that quickly draws on vital energy resources. This energy depletion can then lead to an increase in appetite to replenish the body…. aka stress eating, eating out of boredom, pouring that third glass of wine, etc.
Restorative yoga helps to combat ALL OF THIS, rebalancing the hormones and reducing stress! Are you starting to understand why this is the secret ingredient to weight loss (and happiness)?
Lastly, restorative yoga encourages mindfulness. When we operate from a calm, cool, and collected state, we’re more likely to make sound decisions regarding our health and wellness. This third point rings incredibly true for me.
When I’m operating from a space of body, mind, soul connection – everything falls into a state of flow – and it’s so damn magical. I find myself reaching for the pen to journal, stepping on my mat with an eager heart, making and consuming food that fuels me, and engaging in conversations/practices that better my journey.
Okay, case closed.
We’re all on the restorative yoga bandwagon, now let’s go.
Below is your restorative yoga for weight loss sequence that includes the how-tos, what props you need, and extra tidbits to guide your journey.
Heart Opener x 3
I’ve just recently discovered this restorative yoga posture sequence and I’ve got to admit, it’s a keeper. So simple. So soothing. So effective.
We’ll practice this posture three times, starting with the blanket positioned at the upper back (your bra-line), moving it to the middle back, and ending with it positioned on your lower back (think where you place a block for restorative bridge pose).
Once you get settled atop the blanket, extend the legs towards the front of your mat, bring the arms into a T shape and allow the heart center to expand and soften here, and lastly, rest your head down to the mat, keeping length in the back of your neck.
We will hold each blanket position for 2 -3 minutes, your only job is to relaxxxxx, softly breathe, and enjoy the experience!
Half-Triangle at the Wall
prop needed: back of a chair or wall
Okay, I need to be frank.
This posture feels more like a modified pyramid to me, but if we’re being politically correct and keeping all terminology aligned, this is called wall half-triangle in the restorative yoga world.
So why are we using the wall?
The goal here is to do a forward bend without dropping the head below the heart, making it safe and accessible for everyone participating (esp. if you have high blood pressure and shouldn’t be inverting). And if you’re someone who wants more here, go for it, but I do advise using blocks as the body isn’t warm enough for a full pyramid posture.
Now go find yourself a wall!
Once there, place your hands on the wall, step your right foot back about one foot and the left foot about three feet behind it. The back foot is positioned at about a 45 degree angle here.
Start to straighten your arms and lower your torso parallel towards the floor, keeping your ears, arms, and torso aligned. If you need to readjust your legs to accommodate the straightening of your arms, go for it!
Hold for one minute, keep your breath steady, and switch sides!
Forward Fold on Chair
props needed: chair and optional blanket
Forward folds are well loved in the yoga community and I hear you, they feel so damn good. But they can also easily be overdone, overstretched, and create pain in the lower back and knees. And yes, I’m one of those people who overdid it.
This posture is about experiencing and feeling the same benefits of forward fold, but without the strain and potential for injury.
So grab yourself a chair and come relax with me!
With a blanket placed atop the chair (optional prop for more comfort), bring yourself into a seated position in front of the chair and place your legs in a position that serves you. In the video, I choose a shortened straddle, but you can take a cross-legged position or extend your legs long underneath the chair (if your chair is shaped for this).
Once you’ve found that oh so comfy place, stack hands atop one another, and rest your forehead down onto them.
We’ve got 5 minutes on the clock, enjoy each moment of them!
Legs on Chair
props needed: chair and optional blanket
And you made it to your final posture, savasana, but with legs on a chair. Trust me, it’s just as yummy as traditional savasana.
From your forward fold over the chair, transition to a lying down position with your feet and calves resting atop the chair. Make any final adjustments you need here to experience total relaxation, then close your eyes and welcome integration, aka that body, mind, soul connection.
Stay here for a minimum of 5 minutes or however long your heart desires!
Once you’ve completed today’s practice, make a mental note of how you feel throughout the day, at work, at home, with your loved ones, and in your daily decisions. Notice if this short practice created a stepping stone for a healthier, more mindful, and connected you.
And if it did, keep at it friend! This practice is all yours.