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Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times Paperback – August 1, 1995
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Relax & Renew is the first to devote itself entirely to restorative yoga, providing a series of yoga postures designed to relieve chronic stress. Exercise programs are introduced with a series of insights and stipulations which instructs on yoga techniques for everything from insomnia to basic relaxation. -- Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Judith Lasater has taught yoga since 1971. She holds a doctorate in East-West psychology and is a physical therapist. Judith is president of the California Yoga Teachers Association, and serves on the advisory boards of Yoga Journal and the Yoga Research and Education Center.
Her yoga training includes study with B.K.S. Iyengar in India and the United States. She teaches ongoing yoga classes and trains yoga teachers in kinesiology, yoga therapeutics, and the Yoga Sutra at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. Judith also gives workshops throughout the United States, and has taught in Canada, England, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and Russia.
She writes extensively on the therapeutic aspects of yoga. In addition to her best-selling Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times (Rodmell Press), she is the author of Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life (Rodmell Press).
Her popular "Asana" column ran in Yoga Journal for thirteen years, and she continues to contribute articles on a variety of subjects. In addition, her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and books, including Yoga International, Natural Health, Sports Illustrated for Women, Prevention, Alternative Therapies, Numedx, International Journal of Yoga Therapy (formerly The Journal of the International Association of Yoga Therapists), Complementary Therapies in Rehabilitation (Slack), Living Yoga (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee), American Yoga (Grove Press), The New Yoga for People Over 50 (Health Communications), and Lilias, Yoga, and Your Life (Macmillan).
Judith Lasater lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.
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Top customer reviews
Those who have an active yoga practice will find the poses featured in Relax and Renew a significant departure from what they are used to. In traditional yoga the focus is on active poses followed a brief restorative pose (savasana). If you find that savasana is your favorite part of your yoga class, Relax and Renew may be just what you are looking for since its entire is restorative yoga based poses.
Lasater credits her restorative yoga based poses to BKS Iyengar, a worldwide yoga authority who experimented with props to modify yoga poses so students could experience their benefits without strain. In Relax and Renew, Lasater expands upon this concept to create yoga based poses and pose sequences designed to evoke the relaxation response and heal the effects of chronic stress. She calls restorative yoga "active relaxation."
The first part of Relax and Renew (Chapters 1 through 3) provides background information about stress and and how restorative yoga works to counter its effects. Chapter 2 takes a question and answer approach to providing information on how to get started practicing restorative yoga with details on where to begin, how to begin, what you should wear, what props you will need, etc.
Chapter 3 is devoted to the topic of props - a significant aspect of a restorative yoga practice. She categorizes props as props you lie over, props you place on your body, and props you rest on or against and includes detailed charts for how to fold blankets for various poses.
The remainder of the book focuses on specific restorative poses, a general restorative yoga practice, restorative yoga poses for busy days, restorative yoga poses for the office, and restorative yoga sequences for various conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, insomnia, difficulty breathing, jet lag, women's cycles, pregnancy, and menopause.
Each pose includes instructions for how to set up your props for the pose, getting into the pose, settling into the pose, how to come out of the pose, benefits of the pose, and any cautions. There are also detailed photographs of each of the poses, which are meant to be held for several minutes.
If you are feeling weak, fatigued, and generally stressed out by life, you may want to consider using Relax and Renew to help you begin a restorative yoga practice.
However, if you are used to moving at quantum speed and have difficulty slowing down, you may find this book and the suggestion to rest in supported poses challenging. It may also take some time to learn how to set up the props to support you properly in the various poses. To get the most out of the poses described in Relax and Renew, you will need props including several blankets, pillows, yoga blocks, yoga straps, a yoga bolster, and a chair.
People misinterpret headstands as restorative to invigorating...people fear just laying down, without any noise and just be... be still in the moment, this very moment.
I would highly recommend this book because American Yoga is denying what real yoga is about.
The book sat, unused, on my bookshelf for several years. Then I finally got it.
I don't know what happened, or when exactly or why, but suddenly the restorative poses made sense. I think it was a natural outcome of several years of regular asana practice. As students travel deeper along on the yogic path, they begin to realize that the reason to attempt "pretzeldom" is to achieve the state of deep relaxation which is conducive to meditative focus.
AS many before me have said: It's not how twisted into pretzeldom you can go, nor is it whether you can perform 108 sun salutations in a row; it is how fast you can drop into the non-thought space. The blissful space of pure being. This is a roundabout way of saying that this is yoga as it should be practiced by all yogis at least once per week. Let go of your striving to achieve armless head balance and enter the blissful state of an extended supported baddhakonasana!