“This gem of a book is a guide to powerful practices for rest, reflection, self-care and the tending of community. The insight it contains is not a luxury, but a physical, emotional and spiritual imperative.” – Bo Forbes, Psy.D., psychologist, somatic educator, and author of ’Yoga for Emotional Balance’
In the midst of our busy lives, the pursuit of rest often takes a backseat to the demands of daily routines. Yet, the importance of rest remains undeniable. As evidenced by a comprehensive study of 18,000 individuals from 134 countries, people who don’t get enough rest suffer from a variety of health problems.
In ‘Rest + Calm: Gentle yoga and mindful practices to nurture and restore yourself,’ we encounter a beacon guiding us toward embracing rest and self-care. In this review, we explore its profound insights and practical wisdom, unveiling the transformative potential of gentle yoga and mindfulness.
Paula Hines is a yoga instructor and columnist for OM Yoga Magazine.
With a background in being an expert trainer in Advanced Relax and Renew techniques (specialising in restorative yoga), Paula transitioned into the field of yoga instruction in 2011 following her career as a script editor and humorist for the BBC.
What is the book about?
‘Rest + Calm: Gentle yoga and mindful practices to nurture and restore yourself’ is a versatile restorative toolkit for on-demand use.
The book is divided into two main parts. The first part, called ‘REST,’ focuses on restorative yoga and guides readers through different poses and sequences. This section also gives a basic overview of how restorative yoga affects your body and brain as well as discloses the benefits of this kind of yoga.
The second part, ‘CALM,’ goes beyond just yoga poses. It gives practical advice and ways to live intentionally and find emotional comfort when life gets tough.
Paula Hines emphasises that learning how to rest and getting away from always being busy takes practice. It’s okay to not be perfect; it’s more important to try and take care of yourself.
Table of contents
- Foreword by Bo Forbes
- Part One: Rest
- The restorative yoga poses Restorative rescue – the rest sessions
- Part Two: Calm
Key takeaways from ‘Rest + Calm’
1Restorative yoga is one of the best ways to achieve genuine relaxation
Restorative yoga offers a profound avenue for achieving genuine relaxation of both body and mind. This practice envelops you in a comforting embrace, fostering an environment of support and solace – a rarity in our fast-paced lives.
Central to the effectiveness of restorative yoga are props – tools that provide physical support and elevate comfort. Enhanced comfort leads to a deeper state of relaxation. Remarkably, you need not invest in elaborate gear; everyday items like cushions, blankets, and even walls can serve as effective props. This accessibility ensures that the practice is within reach for all.
2Practising restorative yoga brings a plethora of wellness benefits
The relaxation response serves as a countermeasure to stress-induced fight-or-flight reactions. It is recommended to dedicate 10 to 20 minutes daily to this practice decades ago, recognizing its potential to alleviate stress. Restorative yoga, due to its calming nature, is an effective way to achieve this response.
Unique in its ability to provide genuine rest, restorative yoga is particularly effective against chronic stress, the practices in the book offer valuable stress management techniques, along with benefits such as immune enhancement, increased energy, anxiety reduction, better sleep, tension release, lower blood pressure, hormonal balance, and recovery from injuries. By embracing restorative yoga’s relaxation response, readers gain a holistic approach to nurturing their overall health and balance.
3Restorative yoga activates the vagus nerve, leading to unique health benefits
Triggering the vagus nerve initiates the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system, making practices like restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation effective tools for invigorating or fine-tuning this nerve. The advantages of stimulating the vagus nerve are noteworthy, spanning enhancements in physical well-being and the mitigation of diverse conditions. Its ability to induce relaxation and reduce inflammation contributes to its healing impact on the body. Often used to manage epilepsy and depression, vagus nerve stimulation stands as a versatile therapeutic approach with extensive benefits.
Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Includes different sets of poses targeting specific needs like anxiety or depression provides practical versatility.
The author’s calming personality and empathetic tone resonate throughout the text, fostering a connection with the reader.
The addition of illustrations aids understanding, making complex aspects of yoga easier to comprehend.
For experienced yoga practitioners or those seeking more advanced techniques, the book might feel limited in its depth of content.
Best quotes from ‘Rest + Calm’
“Many of the restorative poses we know were developed by B.K.S. lyengar of Pune, India, or inspired by his therapeutic work. Well-known for his use of props, Mr lyengar experimented with them, modifying poses until his students could practice without strain, and he also explored how these versions of the poses could help people recover from injury or illness.”
“Restorative yoga is one of a number of ways to achieve this, as the very nature of the practice facilitates deep relaxation. A very important aspect of restorative yoga (and also where it differs from other forms of yoga) is that it gives our bodies the opportunity to truly rest and, for our health and well-being, rest is a necessity rather than a luxury.”
“Inhale. As you exhale, allow both knees to gently fall over to your right. As you inhale, bring your knees back to centre. On your next exhale, allow both knees to gently fall over to your left. As you inhale, bring your knees back to centre. Continue with this five to 10 times on each side, linking your breath to your movement. As with the supine version of this, as your knees move to the right and left, they might touch the floor, but they don't have to. Allow this movement to be as small or as big as feels right for you.”
In Paula Hines’ book ‘Rest + Calm,’ she invites us to find peace and take care of ourselves in today’s busy world. Hines, who knows a lot about yoga, guides us through gentle exercises that can help us relax our bodies and minds.
If you are a yoga newbie looking for ways to improve your well-being, ‘Rest + Calm’ is an excellent book that can assist you in achieving a more relaxed and balanced state.
Where to buy
You may purchase ‘Rest + Calm: Gentle yoga and mindful practices to nurture and restore yourself’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.
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