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Why add restorative yoga to your movement practice?

Restorative yoga (RY) allows you to disconnect from the stress and constant activities of life. Being still allows you to explore your mind and body, and give you time to integrate and let go of experiences.
Slows the pace and deepens the breath which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) This mitigates the effects of the stress response, fight or flight, which is triggered by a multitude of stressors. The Stress responses can damage your physiology, immune health and wellbeing. Calming the nervous system comforts your mind and body at the cellular level.
Awareness of physical sensations that arise in RY plus thoughts and emotions can take you deeper into your subconscious. You begin to become one with the universe because RY fosters a deeper level of consciousness expanding your awareness.
RY draws your attention inward taking you away from the outside world with all its pushing and pulling. This then facilitates self-exploration and contemplation. It can then allow you to confront any discomfort that is affecting your wellbeing.
We move through our days and are confronted by fears, anxiety, and uncertainty. RY class offers a haven where you can disconnect from all that naturally comes up in life. The deep relaxation and breathing restores our body and true soul so you can emerge restored, renewed, and recharged with greater awareness of your connection to the layers of life- spiritual, physical emotional and physiological and support your immune system.


Just your breath can change the way you feel physically and mentally.

Here is a link to a book by James Nessor, The Lost Art of the Breath. This link takes you to the introduction of the book and was published by the Guardian. I highly recommend this book!

Here is an interview by Patrick McKeown of Buteyko International of James Nessor about his book and his experience with researching the breath. Patrick is the author of Oxygen Advantage, another book highly recommended. If you have any questions related to the article or the video, I can help. I am a certified Buteyko Practitioner and I currently work with individuals experiencing breathing pattern imbalance and dis-ease.


Feeling the stress of it all?

We are living in uncertain times and everyone reacts to stress in their own way. I even find that my ability to manage stress fluctuates from day to day. Even seemingly mild issues can set me off on some days and not so much on others. It turns out that there are reasons why stress can get personal. Here is a good article for understanding how your body may be reacting to stress. ARTICLE


Supporting your home practice with “stuff” around the house

Using “props” doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy hundreds of dollars worth of specialized merchandise to duplicate what they have in your local yoga studio. In fact, for almost every prop we use at BendnMove for poses, there is something in your house that you can use in its place.

Blocks. In most cases, you can use a book or a stack of books in place of a block or a small stool or low chair. The only time you need to be careful about this is when you are placing both hands on a height (for example, in Downward-Facing Dog pose with hands on blocks). In this case, make sure if you use books are exactly the same height or stools or chair are secure and won’t slip.. And, of course, if you’re handy, there is no reason why you can’t make your own blocks out of pieces of wood you happen to have out in your garage. Just be sure to sand them well pr cover them with a towel so you don’t get any splinters.

Straps. For a yoga strap substitute, look no further than your closet. Depending on which pose you’re doing, you can use an actual belt (leather or cloth). The sash from a bathrobe works quite well. You could even use an actual tie. And, yes, it’s nice to have one of those yoga strap buckles when you want to make a loop, but you could always tie a knot in the belt for the same effect. Just make sure that the cloth isn’t stretchy, as it won’t provide the necessary support if there is a lot of give to it.

Bolsters. I’d say if there’s one prop it’s worth investing in and Milo has 2 round and two rectangular ones left, they can provide  so much use and comfort…. That being said, you can “fake” a bolster by rolling a couple of blankets into a firm roll. Start with one single blanket that is folded into quarters. Then, from the narrow side, roll the blanket into a tight, firm roll. Then fold your second blanket into quarters. Finally, place the rolled-up first blanket on top of the flat second blanket, lining up the edges of both at narrow end, and then roll the second blanket around the first. Pretty close to a bolster, right? To keep it firm use bathrobe sash or belts to hold it together. Another possibility is to use a sleeping bag that has been rolled up inside its bag for storage. Milo also has two bolster covers with zippers that if stuffed with towels or a big blanket will make a great bolster. They are $7 @.
In many poses, the bolster doesn’t even need to be a round shape. In this case, you can fold some yoga blankets into long, thin rectangles and stack them on top of each other. This works well  for savasana and Restorative classes.
Blankets. The blankets used in yoga studios  are cotton. Because few people use real blankets any more, it’s a bit hard to find a substitute blanket in the house. The comforters and duvets we now use on our bed are too fluffy to provide any real support. However, when push comes to shove, a stack of towels can do the trick. Because towels are thinner than cotton blankets, you’ll have to use more to achieve. Beach towels also work great. Milo has 4 blankets left, one wool, 3 recycled materials, very fluffy and one cotton left.  They are $10 and she will deliver. 
Yoga Mats. If you’re practicing on a wooden or carpeted floor, you might not even need a yoga mat at all for your standing poses. Try it and see. If you are resting your head on the floor and you don’t have a mat use a towel or blanket  under your head. You can also use a towel for cushioning your knees or any other part of your body. Milo has 6 mats for only $7 each still available. If you buy two you have very cushy support.

Eye Pillows. 
An eye pillow has two functions. The first is to block out the light. For this purpose, you can drape a silk scarf or any other soft fabric over your eyes. The second purpose is to add a little weight to your eyelids, which can enhance relaxation. To add a little weight, you could wrap the silk scarf around a folded washcloth or even a small baggie filled with rice, beans or lentils.

Sandbags.  A bag of rice or beans works just as well when you want to place a 1 or 5 pound weight on your body. You could also put some small pebbles in a gym sock.
Miscellaneous Props-Be creative
Be creative! Sometimes you can use various pieces of furniture in your house  such as benches, ottomans, and coffee tables for various poses. Even your  couches  can be used for  “Legs on a Couch pose,” easy way of doing an  Inverted pose even without a chair. 
We hope this helps  you in collecting props to make you practice more enjoyable.  We want to support our community. Remember Milo will deliver items to you.  


Short and Gentle Hip and Low Back Release Practice

Sometimes when you only have a short amount of time to spare, but you are longing for a full practice to stretch your body, hips, and back, you can try this short practice.  It helps to lengthen the key fascia lines of the body that may be causing tightness through the hips and back.  I do this practice every morning and it helps me relieve low back tension as well as tightness in my psoas muscle.  Although I recommend holding each of the three poses for 12 breaths, you can hold for less and get some benefit.  Remember that with each breath, your body lets go of tension.  The breath is magical and each pause between the exhale and inhale, allows your body to process the experience of relaxation and rejuvenation.  If you are experiencing tension in the hips and low back, and want more information, please contact me at the studio.  In the mean time, enjoy this video.

Your brain never stops changing

I read a wonderful blog post today and it seemed appropriate to pass along the information. I’m summarizing a post provided by Chris Loper at He reminds us that your brain is like clay and it can be shaped and molded through deliberate effort all up until the day you die. It never looses its neuroplasticity. Woohoo! That means that you can learn new things for as along as you are alive. This means that you can form new habits and literally change your life, mind and body. BUT… it takes some time. If you take a sledge hammer to clay, the molding doesn’t go so well. You mold clay by shaping it slowly with small changes over time. You can make dramatic shifts in your behaviors just by learning and practicing new concepts. Key word is practice. You do have to practice. Yoga is a practice of life behaviors. You can literally change your habits just by practicing something new. Meditation is also a great way to change the way your brain thinks. You don’t have to make your practice formal, you just have to do it. This could be a daunting task, but that is why you call on a mentor or teacher to help guide you. Are you trying to change or create any new habits? How are your doing it? Do you have a guide who is helping you create a road map? Changes can be made and your brain can be molded to accept and change your behavior and even your body. Let us know if we can help!

Looking for a home practice?

BendnMove now offers a 20 – 30 minute practice that you can use at home to build strength, flexibility, balance, and agility.  Tamara has recorded practices that focus on different areas of your body and concepts to create ease in your movement.  I am happy to share the first two with you:   I will be creating a subscription for future practices that will be 8.95 per month.  Each month you will get two home practices that you can download and use.  The practices will be focused on movement, breath, and other ayurvedic and yoga concepts that are helpful in building a daily routine.  I welcome your feedback and look forward to providing this to you.  Feel free to send me an email at