Rest & Restore
Thank you so much for joining me for Rest and Restore!
This prep guide is going to look fairly lengthy but some of it is important for the flow of the class. Please read up to the end of the Props portion of Setting Up Your Space prior to the class. I will be spending a good amount of time at the beginning of class discussing the different props and set up to make sure everyone is well prepared, however, the flow of the class will be much smoother if you can gather as many of the props as possible prior to. Again, the props section is going to look lengthy, but much of it will be suggestions for different prop options for people to find items at home that can be used for support. Not every prop will apply to every person.
Everything else will be my suggestions for how to spend your day leading up to the class, and how to prepare so that afterwards you can remain in the calm state of mind that we are aiming to achieve. Feel free to skip those portions if you have your own restorative routine.
SETTING UP YOUR SPACE
We don't all have the space at home to create a dedicated movement area. For a restorative class especially, our environment will impact how the time is spent. Please allow yourself to create a bit of clutter in order to give yourself the space that you need, knowing that once the class is over you can put everything back to normal.
Wall space is going to be required for the class. We will be lying with our feet up the wall and allowing our legs to open out to the side. Different people will need different space for this depending on how open your hips and inner thighs are. The best way to know how much space you will need is to test it out beforehand, then find furniture that is an appropriate height so you can feel your legs being supported while feeling a very gentle stretch of the inner thighs. Sometimes a yoga strap tied around the feet will work and doesn't take up any of your wall space, but is very limited in regards to how wide the legs can open. I will demo all of this on Sunday before we get started. This will be the most of your prep as you may need to be temporarily moving furniture out of your way in order to gain access to the wall and is best to do before coming in to the class.
Below is a list of the required and some optional typical props, as well as an explanation of their use and alternatives so you can be well prepared for your unique body and with your home-prop resources at hand. Many of the listed props can be used in place of other ones but it's better to be over prepared.
- Yoga Strap: Can be replaced with a housecoat belt or thin sheet that is rolled up. The longer the better so a sheet may be your best bet, though slightly annoying to create.
- 2 Bolsters: We are going to be building the structure shown in the picture above, though we won't be taking that specific posture. If you happen to own or have access to proper yoga bolsters, you may not need so many pillows as per below. If you are constructing the support with blankets and pillows then you will need to grab more pillows for yourself as you will not want to deconstruct your support structure after we build it.
One of the bolsters could be replaced by a rolled up sleeping bag, a foam roller (with soft pillows on top), or a bunch of pillows from your bed. It will need to be somewhat firm and in the shape of a bolster. The second bolster is what we will use to build the slanted structure, and we will take time at the beginning to build this together. If you don't have a bolster please be prepared by having many, many blankets that have been folded in to about a 2.5'-3' X 1' or just under 1' rectangle, as well as firmer pillows or cushions. Once we build the structure it will be most ideal if we don't have to deconstruct it.
- 2 Yoga blocks: These will stay fairly stationary and can be replaced by anything stable and heavy in the shape of a yoga block or small rectangle, though the heights can vary depending on how much of a slant you want to create. You may want to use something alternative to yoga blocks for the structure (if you have something suitable) so that you can save your yoga blocks for under the knees/arms.
*if you do not have access to typical yoga blocks or bolsters I encourage you to play around on a day before the class to try and create this structure with items at home. These are expensive props and I expect most people do not own them. I'm happy to video chat on the Friday or Saturday in order to help you set up. Please email me at email@example.com
- 2 (+) Large plush pillows of equal size and firmness: While only two are required, I can promise you will use more as you play around with the postures. I like to grab a whole bunch of pillows and cushions with different levels of firmness and thickness so I can switch things up if the suggested props just aren't working for me. Having many different pillows and cushions on hand allows you to improvise and build different heights. Best bet is to load your space with many pillows and cushions. Couch cushions can be great if you need a cushion that is more firm. Just make sure that you have 2 of the same size and firmness. Get creative with the rest of them.
- Small blanket folded into a square: For resting your head. Should be fairly thin and small after being folded so it's easy to grab and move around and isn't lifting your head too high off the floor.
- Small blanket to be rolled up: To create a very small bolster to stick in front of our hips as we fold forwards. Different people will prefer different levels of firmness for this but different firmness levels can be created depending on how you fold the blanket before rolling. If you are using a long rolled up sheet in place of a yoga strap, the rolled sheet can be used for this prop, as could the blanket for resting your head.
- Blanket to pull over yourself for warmth: Grab your favourite blanket
- Eye Pillow: A face cloth can be used in place if you don't have a weighted eye pillow. Anything to keep light out
- 2 Chairs: These may not be used by everyone, but would be smart for everyone to have on hand in case it turns out that they are needed. Keeping them in the room with you will mean that you don't have to run around mid class. If you are using chairs, they will be much nicer to rest on if you have a towel or a blanket to drape over the area that is supporting you. If you are going to be using the back of the chair for support, you might want to have something weighted on the seat so that the chair doesn't tip. The chair may also come in handy if you know that your knees and hips do not love Child's Pose and I can offer a chair version to anyone who would prefer.
- 1 Medium Sized soft cushion for under your hips: This is to bring more comfort for under your sit bones and not to bring height. The cushion should be fairly thin but also somewhat firm so you don't just sink back down to the floor. Much of this comes down to preference but a thin patio chair cushion should do the trick!
- Multiple Mats: Also not required. I like to build my slanted structure at the end of a mat so I can move it around easily if I need to. I sometimes find that my structure just won't stay supported and so it can be really helpful to be able slide it up against the wall to lean on. Ideally, we are moving as little as possible so having two mats pushed together creates a really nice big space to roll around as much as you need to without landing on the hard floor and having to shuffle back to your mat.
That's it for required reading! Thank you for bearing with me. The remainder of the space set-up all comes down to preference. Things to pay attention to will be lighting, scents and sounds.
Lighting: Generally the softer the light the better. You may want to move around in complete darkness (though keep in mind this might add to how bright your computer feels) or you may prefer full light. I personally prefer a very soft light with lots of candles. Please make sure candles are far away from your movement areas so that a blanket or pillow is not at risk of coming near a flame
Scents: Completely personal preference and it may be that you prefer no scent at all. Scent can create very strong emotions and so can be very useful in helping us calm our nervous system. I would encourage you to do a little research on aromatherapy if you're looking for a specific outcome. Scents can be achieved through candles or diffusing oils. Again, please make sure candles are placed far away from the movement area and also away from pets or children.
Sounds: I have created a playlist on Spotify that I will make public for the class. This is also a very personal stimulation. I prefer to move to soft piano/guitar, and so there will be much of that in my playlist and for some people it may be too upbeat. Please put on whatever music you prefer to relax to. The volume you chose to play it at is entirely up to you. I prefer my music to be very soft and in the background.
PLANNING YOUR DAY
I would encourage you to give yourself a full day of self-care. Keep yourself moving throughout the day leading up to the class. Some of you may choose to have a high intensity work out and if that's the case I would suggest doing it earlier on so that you have plenty of time to slow right down before the class starts. I find it very beneficial to fill my day with long but gentle walks. This way I get fresh air and movement to my body without moving too far into the sympathetic (fight or flight) part of my nervous system.
Do things that make you happy throughout the day. Again, entirely personal. Some of you may want to move to an internal space and do things that make you happy by yourself, such as a nice bath, at-home facial, even cleaning your bed sheets! Others may want to catch up with an old friend who makes them feel nourished when you reconnect.
If possible, try to have a nice nourishing dinner prepared or preparing during the class. The slow cooker is a great tool here. You could also create a dish that is ready to just pop in the oven when you are ready for dinner. Of course, some may have the option of asking someone else to cook or simply decide to order in! My suggestion here is try to not have too much work for yourself that could bring back that busy feeling after all the restorative work.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding any of this by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to video chat beforehand to search around your house for props that could come in handy. As far as props goes, you can't be over prepared. Grab all of your pillows!
See you Sunday!