With all of things we have to do everyday, I think one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is a moment of reflection and peace; peace from internal judgements, peace from racing thoughts, peace from our To Do lists, peace from our computers and cell phones... just peace.
I give this peace to myself in the form of a gentle yoga practice that aims to open and relax my muscles. This restorative practice allows me to get in touch with any feelings and learn to release them. I have enjoyed many great restorative classes in San Francisco at StudioMix with Rhiannon Fink and at several Yoga Tree studios.
I am by no means a yoga fanatic or even really good at yoga. I can't do handstands or crazy locked up positions (yet) and I am not flexible at all. But i definitely feel better when I do yoga. But due to personal budgetary cutbacks, I don't have access to these wondeful yoga instructors. I figured since I have a decent foundation in yoga I could come up with a restorative practice that could do at home.
There are really great yoga resources online. But I have been finding the most useful one for me is Yoga Journal. I looked through the practices they had online and in the poses index to come up with a basic routine I could do on my own.
The great thing about doing yoga at home is that you can go as fast or slow through your poses allowing you to focus on any problem areas. On a weekly basis, I pick one pose to work on and really try to focus on the nuances of the pose. Happy Baby may look like an easy pose designed to give you a break but it is very effective at stretching your hips. I strive to find meaning in every pose.
I also find yoga to be a great counterpoint to my strength work outs and helps me actively and gently stretch out tense muscles. It also allows me to check in with my self to see if I'm working hard enough or not hard enough and when I should take a rest from the weights.
Here is my restorative sequence but keep mind that this is constantly evolving by adding or removing poses. I hold each pose for as long as I need to have it feel right. Namaste!