RESTORATIVE-YIN YOGA involves supported body/mind relaxation. This is gentle, gentle yoga that promotes deep relaxation for stress reduction while also stretching and rehabilitating connective tissue.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Come To The Spine


IN ASANAS, we bring our awareness to breath, to places of tension, and to experiences of release and softness.  In Awakening The Spine, Vanda Scaravelli suggests that we “come to the spine” or bring our awareness to the sensations we might feel in the spine when we are doing a pose.  When we do so, we can begin to move and soften the spine. 

Yoga is a body-mind practice that comprehensively included the spine: arching the lumbar out and in, twisting the spine, stretching the spine to one side and then the other, and inverting the spine.  Awakening awareness of what the spine is doing in a pose, we can then move the body/spine and follow its movement.

Coming to places of tension and using breath to support the body and then to deeply and kindly stretch with an exhale, deeply stretching points of tension, and bringing our awareness to the spine are dimensions of yoga practice that are likely to be missed when we are quickly changing poses. 

Moving quickly “awakens” the spine, but we are not very likely to awaken our awareness of the spine in the sense of spending some time there.  Holding poses can more accurately involve allowing the pose to come to us, to fit each of us, and there, to explore a rich landscape—coming to the spine and to the tension and to the gradual release—that we typically do not allowed ourselves to experience and, therefore, miss so very much.  Why such expediency?  Toward what end?


  1. It’s amazing how such simple acts can create powerful internal shifts, just as you described. It is absolutely necessary these days that we consciously turn away from electronics and technology and towards movement, fresh air, stillness, and breathing – even if it’s just for 5 min.

    Restorative Yoga Poses

    1. I have come to that place where I sense that restorative practices may be the core yoga practice rather than something for those who struggle with many of the asanas. And this core practice may be the high practice. Then, you take this practice into other asanas, holding/stilling, deep comprehensive stretching in which spindles relax, spending time with bringing awareness to the spine and allowing the pose to come to you rather than assume the pose as if there is a set pose, and freeing rather than controlling the body. This restorative orientation really opens multifaceted internal shifts that are perhaps more important than the effects on muscle and connective tissue. And yet almost no one approaches yoga this way and I sense that there is a crucial foundation that is missing. I tend to move restorative into a process that I term soft power and there are levels to this practice, but it aspires to remain essentially restorative. It is kind--yoga metta--and deep.

      A deep bow your way.