One of the lovely ladies in our yoga classes just finished a teacher training at Kripalu in restorative yoga, and to get her certificate, she needs to practice on some willing students. Ever since my first experience with restorative yoga at the Burlington Yoga Conference, I've been wanting more, so I took her up on her offer of a one-on-one session of restorative yoga.
We did three poses this morning: supported bound-angle pose, supported legs-up-the-wall pose, and a very supported savasana (final resting) pose.
In supported bound-angle pose, I felt so incredibly relaxed, it felt as though I would just melt away, down into the floor, and vanish. When she first laid the eye pillow across my eyes, my mind just automatically started going through all the things that were worrying me, one after the other tumbling through my thoughts...
Eventually, though, I just put those thoughts aside and focused on what my body was feeling. Which was, essentially, nothing. I felt light, weightless, and after fifteen minutes like that, when Magda came over to remove the eye pillow and help me get up from the pose, I almost wanted to ask her if I could lay there for another ten minutes.
The next pose was a supported legs-up-the-wall pose. I was sort of nervous about doing this in a restorative, or yin, sort of way, because I wondered how it would feel to have my legs straight up against the wall for a full fifteen minutes.
The supports were perfect for this one - a blanket under my sacrum, a huge rolled up blanket and a block to help keep my legs up, and then Magda took a yoga strap and wrapped it around my legs, just under the knees, to give me more support.
I was almost in that blissful state of near-sleep when I felt...something. Something big, running from my ankle, straight through the rest of my body, into my chest, and up through my head.
My eyes popped open under the eye pillow, and I felt as though I were a few seconds away from having an anxiety attack.
From across the room, Magda could hear my breathing change, and she came over to see if I was okay. I just knew I had to get down outta that pose, and she helped me down and we talked about what I felt. Strangely enough, legs-up-the-wall is supposed to RELIEVE anxiety, so we have no idea what was going on there.
The last pose for the session was a very supported savasana, laying on my left side to support digestion. There were bolsters along my back, pillows between my knees, and again, I found myself in this state of blissful half-consciousness, just letting my body do its own restful thing.
The eye pillow was so nice that we arranged a barter so I could keep it, and I went home feeling much better than I had when I woke up this morning.
Vinyasa class tonight, and I'm interested to see how I do after this restorative session this morning.