Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Restorative Yoga Sequence: Yoga with Props
Restorative Yoga is a series of yoga poses which can be done in a sequence or individually in order to relax muscles and tissues, with complete quietness of the mind and connection of the smooth flow of breathing with the movement of the body. Thus, this form of practice, can be done only with certain poses with partial or full support for the body bringing no physical effort to maintain the pose. The muscles are not stretched beyond one's capacity and yet they get their minimum stretch with support by using props like yoga blocks, yoga bolsters, yoga straps, soft blankets, using walls, using cushions or extra pillows etc.
In today's modern times, with fast moving lives, a lot of our habits and routines bring about disturbances to our nervous system creating pain, stress, illness, disturbances in sleeping patterns and emotional imbalances. With the practice of restorative yoga, understanding the changes in our body, that affect the mind, makes it easier to improve things as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
Restorative yoga reduces stress, injury due to weak muscles and tissues, prolonged illness and helps to maintain the nervous system, correct sleeping patterns, control anxiety related symptoms and most importantly, stimulate the body's natural healing response.
It is very important to understand the intensity of the practice of Restorative Yoga as someone who is new to the field of yoga may not understand the mind-body connection with breathing. Hence, Restorative Yoga needs to be done after the introduction of some simple poses to stretch the limbs and feel the breathing process for beginners. Restorative Yoga is done after supporting the spine with yoga blocks, blankets, cushions, pillows etc. Some poses also require supporting the head and the neck with the above props.<,/p>
The given Restorative Yoga Sequence uses minimum support to help one learn to connect the breathing at the beginner's level and to help maintain a good nervous system. Each pose is done for a minimum of 5-10 minutes or more depending on the individual's capacity. No pose, when held for a long duration, should bring uneasiness because the alignment of the body with the various props should only bring comfort and not pain. Awareness of the body with the breathing and the deeper opening of the muscles and tissues should be kept in mind during each pose in the given sequence.
Restorative Yoga Sequence: Yoga with Props: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
Yoga Sequence Builder for Yoga Teachers: Plan your yoga classes, build yoga sequencing foundation with sequence guides, and get yoga sequencing ideas with daily yoga sequences and reference cues.
Learn more at www.tummee.com
A. For Beginners or otherwise, always begin the sequence for restorative yoga with a few stretches connecting with the breath.
B. Loosening up of the bigger tissues helps to enjoy and get maximum benefit from restorative yoga practice, and hence begin with sitting at the centre of the mat. Before starting the practice make sure the required props are at reach causing not disturbances either to your practice or to others around you.
C. Turn off the heavy lights in the room and keep a low glowing light or even burning candles would help. Keep the room well ventilated and if required one could play a soft music to help ease the mind.
D. Seated at the centre of the mat, cross your legs in Sukhasana and close your eyes joining your palms in Namaste. Begin with normal breathing and slowly take the breath to a smooth flow connecting and feeling the same.
E. Sit in Easy pose for a minimum of 6 breaths, get into the flow of breathing and connection with breathing happening from both the nostrils and the connection with the movement of the body.
F. Restorative yoga is all about relaxing the muscles, and here seated in Sukhasana, keep the back straight naturally and release the tensions around the neck and the face.
A. Moving from the simple Sukhasana, inhale and raise your arms above your head extending them and interlocking them at the fingers .
B. After complete exhalation, seated in Easy Pose Raised Arms Pose, stretch the upper body releasing the tensions around the middle rib cage and the shoulders.
C. Sit here for about 4 breaths and with each breath stretch the arms deeper without going beyond your capacity.
D. The raising of the arms above your head also expands the spine, opening it for a smooth flow of prana. The opening of the muscles around the spin, helps in the smooth flow of prana, which is essential for the practice of restorative yoga.
A. Release the arms and bring it down and relax again in seated Sukhasana.
B. Going into the next variation, Easy Pose Side Bend, inhale and take the arms above the head interlocking the fingers and as you exhale bend the torso taking the arms towards the left .
C. While bending towards the left, stay here taking slow breaths with the eyes closed and remain for 3 breaths. With every exhalation take the stretch deeper towards the left with the arms and the shoulders.
D. Release and come to the centre keeping the arms above the head. Then inhale and as you exhale take the torso towards the right extending the arms and shoulders towards the right. Remain here for about 3 breaths watching the stretch with each breath.
A. Releasing the arms and bringing them down, sit in Sukhasana and relax extending the spine.
B. Then placing the hands on the knees, inhale and start rotation of the neck in 3 breaths in clockwise and 3 breaths anticlockwise direction for opening the upper part of the spine while releasing the tensions around the shoulders and the neck.
C. Practice Easy Pose Neck Rotation very slowly moving the neck along with the breath and extend the neck to the maximum feeling the stretch around the shoulders too.
A. Releasing from the various variations of Sukhasana, with gentle opening of the upper spine and the sides of the lower back, sit stretching the legs out in front of you in Paschimottanasana.
B. Take a few breaths here. Bring a cushion to be put below the hips and centre yourself comfortably on the cushion or even a blanket.
C. Then using a yoga strap, place it around the left foot and hold the other end with your hands, while stretching the arms. Then fold the right leg bending at the knee and bring the right foot close to the perineum. Inhale and stretch the toros upward and as you exhale go forward towards the left leg stretching the yoga strap while pulling it towards you.
D. Remain in Janu Sirsasana Stap or Head on the Knee Pose Strap, for about 6 slow deep breaths. This pose helps to open the hips and the legs and also getting ready to enjoy the benefits of restorative yoga. Watch for the stretch around the calves and the hamstrings and be aware of the movement of the body even with the support of the strap.
E. Release the strap and stretch the legs out completely and relax. Repeat and do the same with the right leg and extend the torso comfortably using the strong base of the hips and the lower spine.
F. Remain here for about 6 breaths and with each breath go deeper with the stretch and close your eyes and feel the connection.
A. Release from Janu Sirsasana with strap and bring the feet together placing the soles close to each other, seated in Baddha Konasana.
B. Place yoga blocks below the each thigh resting the thigh on the yoga block comfortably. Make sure both hips are aligned on the floor while placing the yoga blocks.
C. Holding the feet within your palms, extend the spine elongating the entire back and push the thighs towards the yoga block and sit with your eyes closed.
D. Remain calm with the body and slowly connect the breathing with the movement of the body close to the abdomen and the chest. Sit in Baddha Konasana with Blocks for about a minimum of 12 breaths.
E. Restorative yoga is about not pushing the muscles and yet getting the benefit of a particular pose with practice using support. Here while seated the spine gets comfort with the hips being supported by the yoga blocks. The extending of the spine gives room for a greater flow of prana reducing the tensions around the lower back and the upper back.
A. Moving slowly into the deeper restorative yoga sequence, release from the seated position and stretch the legs out in front of you and relax.
B. Then slowly turning towards the right side, come to lie down on your back stretching the entire body making sure the spine is close to the floor.
C. Now after taking a few breaths in the simple Savasana pose, bring a yoga block close to you.
D. Bending the knees and placing the feet on the floor, inhale and slowly raise the lower back and the hips off the floor and bring one or two yoga blocks and place them below your hips.
E. Rest the lower back and hips comfortably on this yoga block, and slowly extend the legs out bringing the heels on the floor, while raising the chest upwards and balancing the body on the shoulders and the head.
F. Setubandha Sarvangasana Variation here with the support of a yoga block, should be perfect in alignment, else the pose will only bring discomfort.
G. Once comfortable with the support, bring the arms on the floor besides you, close your eyes and begin the slow breathing while enjoying the gentle stretch at the middle and lower back.
H. The alternative for this pose is to practice this close to the wall placing the feet towards the wall for better support. Remain here in this pose for about 5 mins (300 seconds with 40 breaths or more).
I. As the breathing pattern may vary from individuals, try and maintain this pose for about 5 mins using the breathing to relax the body.
A. After holding the body in Bridge Pose Variation Block Support Legs Straight, for about 5mins or more, release and come to simple Savasana and relax.
B. The body takes time to adjust to the using of blocks during the pose practice and hence be careful when going into the pose while using yoga blocks while making sure they don't slip and fall.
C. From Savasana, come to sit up in Dandasana. While seated in Dandasana, take two yoga blocks and place them behind you one behind the other.
D. Then slowly exhaling, bring the body down, placing middle back and the back of the head on the yoga block. Adjust the blocks while going down, or take the help of the teacher or the partner while doing so. Make sure the body is comfortable while resting on the block.
E. Here in supported Fish Pose or Matsyasana, the raised chest with the support of the block, helps to improve the breathing opening the diaphragm to the maximum.
F. Remain here as per the body comfort for about 5 mins (300 seconds with 40 breaths) or more. The idea of restorative poses here are to slowly connect to the deeper muscles during the breathing process.
G. This pose opens the heart and the throat chakra, improving better blood circulation and better respiration.