During my travels this year I was forced to come up with some ways of doing Restorative Yoga without my usual stack of blankets, bolsters, blocks and sandbags. I have developed a little sequence that has the constraint of using just 3 blankets. Even when I’m staying with friends or in rented accommodation, I’ve usually been able to find 3 coverings of some sort be it towels, bed covers or old blankets. Here are some ideas of how to set them up and lie down in various calming body shapes. It’s also a great sequence to teach if you have limited props available.
I’ve been teaching these minimal setups to my students over the last couple of weeks to prepare them for some independence over the Christmas/Summer holidays – we combine the two here in NZ! My encouragement to you is that you don’t let not having the right equipment available put you off practicing Restorative Yoga. Let go of getting it perfect or right.
And so it’s with this very attitude that I have made a basic little video using only my phone. Using a time lapse setting, I can show you what would be a 20-30 minute sequence in 3 minutes! Yes, the video is a rather crude way to show the set ups and body shapes but I hope that it shows you a good overview of the sequence that I have found supportive and actually refreshing. This practice can be a great way to bring about some clarity and focus when you have a big to do list or help to refresh you for a social engagement that you need to attend when you are feeling tired.
These postures definitely have a different quality to the more extensive setups that I usually teach and practice but if you focus on allowing the body to be as fluid and yielding as possible on the blanket supports I’m sure you will find some rejuvination. Imagine your body to be like a stream flowing over the rocks on the river bed with ease.
I’ve put this resource together for my students but hope that even if you are not attending my classes you can get the feel for it and be inspired to practice Restorative Yoga over these often busy and stressful times.
3 blankets, 3 minutes: Restorative Body Shapes with minimal props and time
The postures are:
Constructive Rest – 1st blanket creating padding under the torso, 2nd folded under the head, and 3rd covering and stabalising knees in alignment.
- Supported Spinal Extension – 3 blankets made into equal rolls to create a support for the spine to lie over them in a gentle backbend. Note that shoulder blades nor C7 touch the ground.
- Supported Lateral Flexion (on both sides) – 1st and second roll are added together to make a larger round to lie the chest over and come into a side bend. 3rd blanket is rolled to fit into the crook of the neck..adjust until it feels comfortable.
- Downface Savasana – 2 rolled blankets and 1 folder to create a comfortable support for the forehead. Be willing to play with he placement of the 2 lower rolls. I put one around the crease at the top of my thighs and the other is supporting my lower ribs.
- Supported Child – 1st blanket placed between heels and buttocks, 2nd unfolded and lying between thighs and belly, 3rd supporting forehead as before.
- Upward facing Savasana – 1st blanket under head, 2nd rolled under knees OR folded under whole torso, 3rd used as a cover but tucked aound feet and arms to create a comforting container.
This is so great Sam! What a great Christmas present for your students. I’ve just had a BIG day at work and I know what I’ll be doing very soon. Happy holidays to you x
Yay Zoe! May you have a restful Christmas x
This is, indeed, a special gift! How clever and how creative of you, Sam.
It’s interesting to see how dominant the breath is, even in the relaxed positions!!
Thank you dear Sam!
this is such a wonderful idea.
yoga can be practised by all every day.
and rest is such an important part of yoga.