Ease Anxiety, Depression and Addiction Holistically Through Restorative Yoga Poses

Just a few moments spent in stillness and silence will promote calmness and clarity!

Restorative yoga provides healing for the mind and body. A restorative practice offers the opportunity, with its long-held poses, to sit with our negative experiences and breathe through the emotionally turbulent times and negative thought patterns.   Restorative yoga promotes a physical and mental balance to prevent stress and anxiety or simply calm your mind to help regain a healthy focus. It also allows you to explore what happens when you release the tension your body habitually holds.  These yoga sequences typically involve 5 or 6 poses, held for lengths of time that allow you to completely relax and rest.  Held for at least 5 minutes or more, the physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation can positively improve your quality of life.

The top 10 Benefits of Restorative Yoga:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Lowers anxiety
  3. Releases tension
  4. Increases Brain Function
  5. Stimulates Self-Healing
  6. Lowers Heart Rate
  7. Alleviates Depression
  8. Improves sleep
  9. Increases Energy
  10. Awakens Peace

Below are 6 of my favorite restorative poses:

Easy Pose: This pose is a great way to start.  Position yourself on your mat.  Cross your shins and widen your knees.  Sit up tall lengthening your spine.  Close your eyes and gently rest your hands on your knees.  Take 3 deep breathes in and out to the count of 3. The key is to focus on your breath to help your mind begin to relax. Continue to breathe deep cleansing breaths. Breathe deeply in through the nose as if you are smelling a beautiful rose.  Hold at the top for 4-8 seconds and release by breathing out through the nose as if you’re fogging up a mirror. The easy pose promotes an inner calm and also allows you to focus on your breath and the present moment.

Childs Pose: Begin by folding your legs under you, touching your big toes together and sit on back your heels, reach your hands forward as you lay your chest on or between your thighs.  Separate your knees as wide as your hips.  Continue reaching forward to feel the added stretch of your spine.  Take 5 deep, calming breaths.  Childs pose allows you to relax your neck, shoulders, and spine all at once.
Legs up the wall: Set yourself up with a comfortable space. Place the end of your mat directly in touch with the wall. Begin by shimming your hips a few inches from the wall then start walking your feet up the wall until your body is in a slight  L-shaped position.  Make any adjustments needed to make yourself comfortable and relaxed.  Maybe place a pillow under your head or let your arms rest out to the sides or on your belly.  At this point, you will begin to focus on your breathing.  Take a deep, slow inhale through your nose, hold at the top, and then a deep, slow exhale out the nose.  Relax for at least 5-15 minutes. This pose allows the mind and body to relax, relieving stress and tension. The semi-supine aspect of the pose combined with invigorating breaths leads to a slowing down within your body and elicits a relaxation response by lowering your heart rate.

Bridge Pose: While lying on your back, bend both knees and place the feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.  Slide your arms alongside the body with palms facing down.  Your fingertips should be lightly touching the heels.  Press the feet into the floor, inhale and lift the hips up rolling the spine off of the floor.  Gently, squeeze the knees together keeping them hip-width apart.  Press down into the arms and shoulders to lift up the chest. Maybe draw your hands together interlocking the fingers.  Engage the legs and buttocks to lift the hips higher.  Take a deep, invigorating breath, in through the nose as if you are smelling a beautiful flower, hold at the top and then breathe out through the nose as if to fog up a mirror as you gently release and slowly roll the spine back to the floor.  This pose lengthens and strengthens the spine stimulating the endocrine and nervous system.

Cat/Cow Pose: Start on your mat in a tabletop position, neutral spine, with shoulders over the wrists and hips over the knees.  Fingers will point forward and the tops of the feet resting on the floor shoelace side down.  Take a big deep inhale.  On the exhale, round up your spine towards the ceiling pulling the belly button to the spine.  Tuck the chin towards your chest releasing the neck.  This is the cat-like shape.  On your exhale, arch your back and let the belly relax.  Lift your head and tailbone towards the sky. Be careful not to put too much tension on the neck. This is the cow part of the pose.  Begin to flow with the breath between these two poses, inhaling for cow pose and exhaling for cat pose. Repeat for at least 10 rounds.  This pose will relieve back and neck tension.
Savasana: Although it may seem the easiest pose it often is the most difficult.  The art of relaxation is harder than it looks!  Savasana is the practice of gradually relaxing one body part at a time, on muscle at a time, and one thought at a time.  Rest your entire body on your mat.  Extend your arms and legs outward from the torso evenly and symmetrically.  Take a mental scan of your body from head to toe releasing any tension in each body part from your eyes to your jaw to your shoulders, knees, and toes.  Let your body grow heavier with each exhalation.  The goal is to relax with attention, to stay conscious and alert while being at ease.  Just breathe.  This pose, practiced regularly, conditions the body to release stress and improve your sense of physical and emotional well-being.
Yoga has become increasingly popular in today’s busy society providing a retreat from the chaos and busyness and everyday stressors.   It is important to find healthy coping skills that will work for you. Yoga offers peace and tranquility and can ease the symptoms of anxiety, depression and addictive behaviors. Devoting time to your mat allows you the time to relax and calm your thoughts, focus on living in the moment, and take care of you in a healthy, holistic way.  Yoga works with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and our minds.  I urge you to try a new approach. Relax and Rejuvenate.  Find what works for you!
Namaste.  The light in me honors the light in you,

Joy Vale
Patient Care Coordinator
November 22, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

What Are the Health Benefits of Restorative Yoga?” Power Yoga, 31 May 2017, poweryoga.com/blog/health-benefits-restorative-yoga/.
“10 Best Yoga Poses to Grow Taller.” BeautyGlimpse, 10 May 2014, http://www.beautyglimpse.com/10-best-yoga-poses-grow-taller/.
Orenstein, Beth W. “8 Yoga Poses for Beginners.” EverydayHealth.com, 26 Mar. 2013, www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/yoga-poses-for-beginners.aspx.
“Legs-up-the-Wall Pose.” Inspiredhealthcoach.wordpress.com, 3 Mar. 2011, inspiredhealthcoach.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/trouble-sleeping/legs-up-the-wall-pose/.
Paul, Jasmina. “The Yoga Bridge Pose: 5 Seldom-Known Benefits.” Ayurveda Natural Anti-Aging, Mind, Body Health, 14 June 2015, www.bodhyhealth.com/blog/2015/04/yoga-bridge-pose-benefits/.
Sulpizio, Lorri. “Benefits of the Cat-Cow Pose.” Team Better, blog.teambetter.com/benefits-of-the-cat-cow-pose/.

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