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Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times Paperback – August 1, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Rodmell Press; 1 edition (August 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962713848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962713842
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is all about letting go by doing nothing purposefully. Judith Lasater, a very experienced Iyengar yoga teacher, shows the reader in words and pictures how to use everyday props (e.g., blankets, pillows,walls and floors) to travel the highway to the state of relaxation. I had the opportunity to practice restorative yoga with Ms. Lasater in Montana about two years ago and I can attest to the fact this yoga works to relax both the mental and physical muscles in the body if practiced regularly. Since most people can't go off to Montana to practice yoga, this book is the next best thing to being there.
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Format: Paperback
This book is written by Judith Lasater, renowned yoga instructor and physical therapist, and it centers around restorative yoga, a form of yoga practice aimed specifically and reducing stress through increasing relaxation. Restorative yoga has its basis in the Iyengar tradition, which encourages use of props to allow one to relax more deeply into the yoga postures. In this book, a wide variety of specialty props are used; Lasater helpfully breaks down the props into necessary and optional categories, and she offers suggestions for everyday objects which can be substituted for the traditional yoga equipment.

The book is very well-organized into several general themes. Part One provides an introduction to restorative yoga as well as a description of the most important posture, basic relaxation pose; it also includes both a general restorative practice and a practice for busy days. Part Two focuses on specific issues, including lower back pain, headaches, insomnia, breathing difficulties, and jet lag. The third section is designed specifically for women and offers practices for menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Finally, Part Four provides additional information such as breath instruction and general stress reduction strategies, and several useful appendices conclude the book.

The instructions for performing each pose are beautiful illustrated with clear black and white photographs, and the accompanying written directions are meticulously detailed, incorporating sections on setting up, being there (relaxing into the pose), coming back (getting out of the pose), benefits, and cautions. For every posture sequence, Lasater offers both a summary of the poses involved and options for doing a shorter or longer practice.
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Format: Paperback
As a yoga instructor teaching an active, flowing style of yoga, I would have several students ask me if I could also teach yoga just for relaxation and stress-reduction. Initially, I was a little stumped as to what I could teach that would still provide a tremendous benefit while using very little "exercise" (other than meditation). Then I came across this book. She not only educates her readers about stress, she shows us specific poses to counteract that stress. And she explains clearly what benefit we are receiving from each pose. The "General Restorative Practice" is amazing. You truly do feel relaxed and renewed. She even offers a shorter series for those days when time is too scarce or while traveling. And the series for pregnancy is a God-Send for those expecting! I have just begun using these restorative poses in my classes and my students absolutley love it!
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Format: Paperback
Judith Lasater's wonderful book on restorative yoga, Relax & Renew, sits near my yoga mat in plain view, reminding me to take time everyday to restore and replenish myself.
Two years ago my already busy life as a mother, yoga teacher, writer and community activist got even busier when I decided to run for public office and serve on our local City Council. Instead of drinking coffee to keep going, I practice the restorative poses taught in Judith Lasater's book. I refer to Relax & Renew regularly to deepen my own understanding of restorative yoga and also to better instruct my students.
For busy people juggling many hats, I recommend this book highly! A must read for politicians and anyone wanting to reduce stress in their life!
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Relax and Renew - Restful Yoga for Stressful Times, is the definitive guide to restorative yoga and restorative yoga postures. Written by Judith Lasater, a physical therapist with a doctorate in east/west psychology who has been teaching yoga since 1971 and authored several yoga books, Relax and Renew is designed to help you de-stress with supported passive yoga poses.

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.
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