Restorative Yoga For Digestion. ‘Tis The Season!

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

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Proper digestion is integral to balanced holistic health and is at the heart of our body’s energetic regulation. When it is all working correctly, throughout the day our digestive system is ingesting food, secreting fluids, breaking down and digesting fiber, absorbing nutrients and defecating waste. When the system is not working optimally we harbor toxins and waste which can cause a constellation of maladies like bloating, nausea, sluggishness, or general discomfort. At worst, i an over-taxed or improperly functioning digestive system can lead to serious illness or disease.

Obviously a conscious diet and good hydration are the first steps in maintaining a healthy functioning system. But as the holidays quickly approach and the parties and meals become more abundant and celebratory our digestive systems can use more help in keeping up with increased demand.

Restorative Yoga is a tailored, supported, restful practice that awakens our parasympathetic nervous system and assists with physical as well as mental digestion. When we drop into this mind/body state that reigns over meditation and elimination, we allow our innate functions to simply happen on their own. Not only does the practice aid in the physical digestion of toxins and waste products from our bodies, it assists in the digesting of thoughts, images, and incessant chatter that cloud our minds as well.

The Holidays are a great time to give yourself the gift of Restorative Yoga.

Following is a suggested Restorative Yoga practice specifically sequenced and designed to assist in good digestion for optimal functioning of body, mind, and breath. Try one pose or all of them. And take 3-10 minutes in the poses for the best benefit.  Leave me a comment below to let me know how it goes for you.

Wishing you true Joy for the upcOMing holidays! XOXO Melanie

Hero Pose (Virasana)

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Cat / Cow

Knees To Chest Pose (Apanasana)

Reclined Pigeon (Sucirandhrasana)

Extended Leg Pose (Paschimottasana)

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Reclined / Supported Cobblers Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclined / Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Reclined Twist (Jathara Parivartasana)

Supported Savasana

Supported Seated Meditation

 

Best Yoga Practice For Weight Loss

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Legs Up The Wall
Legs Up The Wall

When asked “what is the best yoga to do?” by people who have weight loss goals, my first response is usually Restorative yoga. Considering the scientific fact of the matter that weight loss is brought about by creating a negative calorie balance through decreasing energy intake (eating fewer calories) and increasing energy expenditure (burning calories, i.e. moving and sweating), it seems counter intuitive that to practice rest and stillness would be my answer to the question.

There is almost nothing more frustrating to the overweight person than to be told….”it’s simply a matter of eating less and exercising more”. Well, no shit Sherlock! Thanks for the info. Pardon my angst.

Supported Forward Fold
Supported Forward Fold

My personal experience with being overweight was that I was completely mentally consumed with a negative body image and gripped by food obsession issues. I KNEW what needed to happen, I just couldn’t mentally get there.

Restorative yoga helps to bring calm not just to the body, but to the nervous system and mental state as well. This is integral to changing the behaviors of compulsive and mindless eating that so many of us are prone to.

In the very first yoga class that I ever attended (which is a whole other blog post), when we were led into savasana (the final rest pose, which is a restorative pose) I was able to completely let go. I let go of the grip that I had been unconsciously holding in my belly for Lord knows how long. My shoulders which had also been holding unconscious tension, softened to the floor. And my consistently clenched jaw gave way to its natural supple state. These were no small feats.

Reclined Bound Cobblers Pose
Reclined Bound Cobblers Pose

I had not experienced this kind of peace in my body EVER. I didn’t even know that this kind of clarity and lightness of body existed. Afterwards, when I was alone, I wept.  I knew I was carrying excess weight around, but I had no idea how much stress, and anxiety I was carrying in my body.  I knew I had to release this pain out of my mind, body and Spirit just to live.  Yoga simultaneously illuminated that I needed to release the suffering and gave me tools to do it.

There was literally no turning back.

That is how yoga, and specifically Restorative yoga saved my life.

After my first class, slightly desperate to find that same savasana experience again, I eventually and quite accidentally found an Iyengar Yoga class wholly dedicated to restorative postures. I was a dedicated student of that method for 10 years and still incorporate much of the philosophy into my daily practice and my own teaching style.

Supported Front Body Opener
Supported Front Body Opener

Ever since these early experiences I have been an advocate for the restorative practice for myself and others,  no matter what the health aspirations are.

Restorative yoga (in addition to active yoga practices and cardiovascular workouts) has been a vital component in my wellness regime and healthy weight management for the last 15 years. It is and was THE answer for me.

Please check my Teaching Schedule for Restorative Yoga Offerings. Or contact me if you have any questions or are interested in Private Sessions.

I wish you Peace on your journey to balance and the life you are meant to live.

Love,

Melanie