⚪ How can I help get myself in the mood for practicing restorative yoga?
One way is to gather your props and keep them neatly arranged and available in the same place in your house or in the house or hotel you are visiting. Make a ritual of your practice by trying to do it every day at the same time and place. You may want to play music or light a candle while you are setting up the pose to help with the ritual, but do not use these adjuncts when actually practicing.
In a yoga class, remain silent while you get the necessary props from the studio prop storage while walking to and from your mat, and while you are setting up for the pose. This reminds you to begin going inward. It will remind you that, in a way, the restorative pose has begun even as you are just setting up the props.
⚫ Where is the best place to practice?
Definitely practice indoors. Assemble your props, whether it is in a dedicated yoga room or just a corner of a communal room. Keep the props where you can see them, neatly arranged and ready to go. You may also like to have some object or photograph nearby that helps you set the mood for your practice by reminding you of your higher self.
🔴 Is it OK to practice on my bed?
Unless there are unusual circumstances, it is better to practice in your regular yoga space. It is easy to confuse relaxing with sleeping, and I want you to have both in your life. Of course, setting up a pose or two in bed can be helpful if you are recovering from an illness or injury.
🔵When is the best time of day to practice?!
Early morning is a lovely time to practice because your mind will be refreshed from sleep and probably not as active as it is later in the day. Just before bed is also a productive time to practice because it can prepare you for a restful sleep.
🟤 Do I need special clothing?
You will enjoy your restorative practice more if you wear loose, comfortable clothing. It is better to practice with bare feet, but you may like to keep a pair of socks nearby in case your feet get cold.
🟣 How long after a meal can I practice?
It is best to wait at least two hours before practicing, but some people prefer a longer interval. Experiment with what works for you. I like two hours because the stomach should be through with food and thus there is less abdominal pressure which makes most poses, especially inversions, much more comfortable. You don’t want food to “fall” against the pyloric sphincter.
🟢 What about burning incense during my practice?
I feel the same way about burning incense during practice as I do about playing music. Isn’t it ultimately just another distraction? During a class, I would never use it because people have such distinct individual reactions to and memories associated with odors. Physiologically, the sense of smell is strongly tied to memory and is one of the most basic of all senses; this means it can powerfully affect the brain. My advice is to skip it.
🟡 Is a timer helpful?
I highly recommend using a timer for two reasons. First, it helps with mental resistance. The timer “reassures” the mind that you will quit the pose in 20 minutes or so. This gives the mind a structure that allows you to “slip around” rationalizations for not practicing, like thinking that the practice is just being lazy or wasting time, that you will practice later, or that you don’t know how to do the setups. With a timer, you can “tell” these rationalizations that it will be OK; it is only 20 minutes. Using a timer gives structure to letting go, and this boundary is strangely and unexpectedly comforting for many people.
Second, using a timer will wake you up if you have fallen asleep and give you the opportunity to either stay in the pose or come out as you choose. Falling asleep happens to all practitioners at various times. It is not “bad,” but you don’t want to teach your mind that restorative practice is a time for sleeping. You want to learn how to “hover” in relaxation without going further into sleep, and a timer or bell will help you learn this.