Restorative Yoga for Life: A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

Image of Yoga Journal Presents Restorative Yoga for Life: A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance
Release Date: 
December 12, 2014
Adams Media
Reviewed by: 

In Restorative Yoga for Life, author Gail Grossman aims to help the reader feel at ease in the body, recover from illness or physical injury, and gain a sense of balance and well-being. She says, “If you have suffered from stress, trauma, injury, or illness, this practice can help you heal.”

Indeed, the practice of restorative yoga can help people live longer and more comfortable lives. Individuals who already feel good in the body can use restorative yoga to maintain and augment their wellbeing.

Restorative Yoga for Life opens with a concise explanation of yogic principles and the benefits of practice. This explanation includes an overview of Ayurvedic doshas (types of body constitution) and the chakra (energy centers) system to give the reader a general understanding of the physical body and its ever-changing energetic makeup. Readers are pointed to an online quiz for determining their predominant dosha, which is useful in understanding the remainder of the book.

Restorative yoga poses are held from five to 20 minutes. The body is completely supported, so that the parasympathetic nervous system can become dominant; during deep relaxation, one can release the patterns habitually held in the body and consequently feel better.

Restorative yoga uses lots of props; the book describes them in detail. Online resources are recommended for finding useful, affordable props.

Restorative Yoga for Life presents 10 warm-ups, eight backbends, four twists, six forward bends, five inversions, and three resting/completion poses. Each practice is described with clear instructions for approaching and releasing the pose. Four-color photos clearly show how to position the body and use the props for each step. There is a list of the props one needs, an outline of the benefits of the pose, and notes indicating how the doshic balance is affected and which chakras are benefited by the restorative posture.

Ms. Grossman provides seven breathing techniques to promote relaxation and six visualizations to invoke meditation. Throughout Restorative Yoga for Life, there are sidebars that suggest variations of the restorative poses, “Threads of Thought” (traditional yogic teachings), and “Yogic Wisdom” (tips for practice).

The book is easy to read, with a spacious layout and pleasant illustrations. The language is contemporary, casual, and conversational. English names describe the poses; where Sanskrit terms are used, they are explained in the text.

Using the poses already described, Restorative Yoga for Life continues with helpful sequences for a variety of physical and emotional issues, presented as short sessions of 30 minutes and long sessions of up to three hours. Sequences are provided for the upper body, the lower body, the back, respiratory issues, mental health, digestive disorders, neurological disorders, women’s issues, and seven other health issues. Ms. Grossman also gives suggestions for creating unique sequences according to individual needs.

The book concludes with list of recommended books for continued reading and a thorough index.

Yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar said, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” Restorative yoga is helpful in diminishing stress and increasing life energies. Restorative Yoga for Life is recommended for people who want to experience that kind of balance, relaxation and wellbeing.