Restorative Yoga Series: Supporting the Body with Props
We learned in the last Be Tranquil blog post about Restorative Yoga. Now, I want you to get familiar with a few things before we get down on the mat to practice. I know you want to jump right in, but you want to get the most benefit possible without hurting yourself right?
Why Use Yoga Props?
To fully relax into each of the poses it helps to have some support. Your bodies does better at certain angles, like laying in bed. Sometimes it feels nice to have a pillow under the backs of your knees or in your lumbar area while sitting up. To keep from getting stiff in these areas you put a "prop" in there for support. The key here is you know where you get stiff and you know when you start to feel uncomfortable and you put a pillow or blanket there when you need it. You will listen to your body in the same way while practicing restorative yoga. You will be comfortable and I will be comfortable, but we may have different props supporting different areas. I will guide you through the best way to support your body in future blog posts about restorative poses, but you must always listen to your body and respond to it. (I will remind you of this constantly. It's also a reminder for myself. We don't listen to our bodies like we should!)
A Few Basic Props
Some basic props to use for support in restorative poses are pillows, blankets, blocks, straps, sandbags and chairs. And imagination! Configuring these can take listening to your body and using your imagination for the perfect placement.
Pillows can include the versatile yoga bolster, which you can find in many beautiful fabrics in the Tranquilityoga shop. They're big, strong, and give fabulous support. You can also use one or more bed, couch and throw pillows that feel comfortable to you.
Blankets can be very supportive when folded into smaller portions. The firmer the better here. It may take several blankets stacked to give you the support you want. If you get cold easily, definitely drape one over you as you relax into a pose. It's hard to let your muscles release when you're shivering. I always have a blanket for this, I get cold so easily.
Yoga blocks aren't soft so they work best underneath pillows or blankets. Place them on the mat first and then lay your soft layers on top. They help bring the pillows up closer to you so you can relax more easily.
You might have used straps in other yoga practices. In restorative yoga, you could use them in various ways to support yourself so your muscles don't have to. Belts work great as straps if you don't have one. I'll get into more detail as we need them in the future.
Sandbags and eye pillows are used to add light pressure on your body. Eye pillows allow you to relax your eyes and face muscles. You can find them here, in the Tranquilityoga shop, in several pleasing scents. Sandbags placed in other areas of the body help to open up tight muscles or simply help you feel grounded and open. If you don't have these props it's okay, you can be creative and find other items or just practice without them.
Furniture around your house, like chairs, are great for giving support in so many ways. If you're not comfortable on the floor restorative poses can be done sitting in a chair. You might put your legs up in a chair while laying on the floor or bend over the back. You'll learn more about how to use these props as we go along too.
Putting It All Together
These are basic props used in Restorative Yoga. Some can be found in the Tranquilityoga shop because that is my passion and what I want to share with you. I want you to be able to get down on your mat and feel amazing. I want you to give your body the chance to be the best it can be! Keep following the Be Tranquil blog as we get into the restorative poses in the next few weeks. We will put them all together and make healing sequences you don't want to miss. Sign up here and let's do this! Until next time, Namaste.