giveaway! ‘relax & renew’ by judith hanson lasater (sponsor spotlight)

Work. Relationships. Money. Climate change. Yoga scandals. We live in stressful times, and now more than ever, we need to remember to rest and restore ourselves. Judith Hanson Lasater’s book, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times, is the ultimate guide to restorative yoga.

I have three copies of the beautiful new edition of Relax and Renew, courtesy of IAYB sponsor Rodmell Press. To enter, leave a comment before 9am EST on Monday, February 20, answering the skill-testing question: How do you relax?

Author Judith Hanson Lasater answered a few questions about the simple and powerful practice of restorative yoga.

What is restorative yoga? How is the practice different from other approaches?

Restorative yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of ease and relaxation in order to facilitate balance and health. Most asana practice is about stretching. Restorative yoga is about opening.

Why do we need to relax and renew?

We are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress in our society. We seem to have less and less time, with more and more to do. Deeply relaxing for 20 minutes a day can positively affect virtually all systems of the body and can help us to rebalance our health.

You turned to restorative yoga during a painful time in your life. What are the profound healing effects of restorative poses?

There are so many! Restorative yoga can help with insomnia, anxiety, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, infertility, menstrual cramps, lower back pain and other conditions and symptoms. All these have been studied.

Restorative yoga is a wonderful way to relax. But what are some ways that we can relax when we’re OFF our yoga mats?

Ask yourself: Am I stressed because I rush, or am I rushed because I’m stressed? The easiest way to relax is to slow down. Take several very slow breaths. Walk 10 percent slower. Drive the speed limit. And most effective of all: do one thing at a time. Really. Instead of multitasking, uni-task. Try it, it works.

Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT, has been a yoga teacher since 1970 and is the author of eight books including Relax & Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times.

  1. I relax by being present in the moment I am in with my breath, surrendering to what it πŸ™‚

  2. Aromatherapy bath and Melissa tea do the trick.

  3. I relax reading a book or listening to good music while enjoying a glass of wine with someone I love. Those moments are filled with real happines!!

  4. soulflow with sarah luna in austin. a little asana, a little free-form dance, meditation, savasana. she fits it all in with enough time for me to get back to work at 1.

  5. Legs up the wall w/bolster…works every time!

  6. Getting outside to connect with nature, singing to the kiddos, writing and/or reading some poetry, a bit of yoga and/or stretching, cooking for fun, a good laugh, a few breathes in the moments.

  7. I started taking a restorative yoga class a few weeks ago indeed. I knew it would be in my path to wellness from suffering with severe fibromyalgia & PTSD. I would love a copy of your book to guide me through practice at home as i am often homebound. Meditation is also wonderful.

  8. Viparita Karani – all the way. Add in some blankets, a heated neck pillow and an eye pillow and I’m in yoga heaven.

  9. belly breathing in the sunshine – preferably followed by a cup of tea

  10. Hi Roseanne!
    Yoga and nature have always been my go to for instant decompression. But these days, what helps me relax almost instantly is cuddling into my love’s soft space between collarbone and ear. I love this place as much as I love Supta Baddhakonasana!

  11. I love restorative yoga but find that, actually, it’s most effective with some more vigorous yoga or other exercise beforehand. In general, I find that the formula for relaxing, for a person like myself whose work mostly involves sitting in a chair and typing on a computer, is physical exertion + relaxation technique.

  12. How do I relax? By finding a quiet space with no distractions, often my tiny living room. Being surrounded by my books, with my little black kitten sitting on the arm of the couch. Making a cup of hot green tea and putting it on the window sill. Settling back into the corner of the couch, legs tucked under, drinking my tea, and watching the tree outside of my window. Letting my mind be quiet.

  13. I am a terrible relaxer, but am “working” hard to get better at it. In addition to old stand-by’s of yoga and reading, I also use pinterest.com as a way to get absorbed in something that is totally visual, imaginative, and inspirational for me.

  14. I practice yoga nearly every day, but sometimes just snuggling with my two dogs does the trick.

  15. how do i relax? it’s a very challenging thing for me to do … but listening to or watching stand-up comedy and laughing helps. also, lying on our daybed in the afternoon sun.

  16. I relax by having a glass of wine and curl up on the bed with my boyfriend and kittens.

  17. Yoga is my way to relax! When I’m not at a session, I like to do a Rodney Yee video at home. I also love to read, curled up on a chair with a cup of tea. Listening to folkalley.com radio is another good thing to add πŸ™‚

  18. Yoga, of course. Usually, the more stressed I am, the more I need to go to yoga. If I’ve had a really intense day at work, I will zone out with a good movie or my favourite shows. Downton Abbey is my new obsession. And because I’m a writer, I geek out over the dialogue and characters. I also paint my nails A LOT with fun designs. Thinking up new nail art ideas keeps me out of trouble.

  19. Sigh….I so love relaxing! Bolsters and blankets. Yoga nidra. Sometimes just sitting and doing nothing. Walking in trees. Watching brainless tv shows. Lying on the floor or ground. I could go on and on….

  20. Off the mat, I relax by cooking with presence; chanting/listening to kirtan; breathing deeply. On the mat, I relax in viparita karani; reclining supported supta badhakonasana and; savanasa of course!! Ommmmmmm!

  21. I love JHL & have wanted to get this book for a long while. Thanks for the opportunity,

  22. of course yoga & breathing out, and falling in love with my bolster (again), but also being near the beings I love, writing letters the old fashioned way, and sharing a meal

  23. Yoga (depends on the mood what practice), hot bath with Epsom salts and lavendar oil and a cup of Earl Grey tea. Bliss.

  24. i relax with a good movie or book, with a cup of hot chocolate or decaf coffee and my cats snuggled by me πŸ™‚

  25. I just started teaching yoga, and I include some relaxation in my classes – the students love it! I relax by doing some yoga nidra, deep breathing, or reading a good book (I’m also going to be teaching a restorative yoga class, so this book would be a great teaching tool!!)

  26. For me, the essential de-stresser is breathing. 5 minutes of deep, focused breathing in the middle of a stressful day can be incredibly restorative!

  27. Yoga, of course, but getting a massage is a luxury that I occasionally enjoy that is the ultimate in relaxation for me.

  28. Supported inversions always calm me down, especially Viparita Karani. I also rely on a simple breath practice, with extended exhalations, to switch my nervous system from fight or flight to rest and digest.

  29. When I am stressed and in dire need of relaxation at work, I close my office door, pull out my mat, lie in savasana. I focus on breath, and do yoga nidra and yoga twists. The world seems so much better afterwards.

  30. I’m kind of a dork so I replied on the fb page (does that count?)
    my A: swimming, hot baths and restorative yoga.

  31. Passive: Supported “reading a good book in bed” pose with back and neck pillows and 2 cats as props
    Active: Singing/playing (piano badly) Laura Nyro songs loudly
    Passive: Hugging a bolster in child’s pose and breathing into my back body
    Active: Freely Dancing/”Fun with Plank Pose” variations to the Noisettes “Don’t Give Up” and Fall Out Boy “Dance, Dance”

  32. Yin yoga followed by a looong savasana.

  33. I breathe!

  34. one of two things: zoning out in savasana after a moksha practice, or catching up on tv shows!

  35. Relax is “Loosen heart” in chinese, and this sounds like a perfect way to find that space.
    But on the physical plane, a pile of blankets, bolsters and sandbags is a good start! πŸ˜‰

  36. Hot bath, meditation, reading.

  37. Well let’s be honest- wine, massages, running, reading, playing with my puppies, laughing with girl friends.

    Depends on why I’m stressed as to what I need….

  38. When I make the time, it’s a 20 minute supported savasana – usually right in the middle of that sleepy time of afternoon when we all need a break. Put a bolster under my knees, a blanket under my head and shoulders, and an eyebag over my eyes = heaven. Just 20 minutes of that and I’m ready to tackle the rest of my day – its better than any energy drink on earth!

    When I’m a bit shorter on time, I just sit quietly for a few minutes, take a few deep breaths. Then I make a mini list in my head of all the things I’m grateful for at that moment. Just a few seconds of this – even at my grumpiest – puts a huge smile on my face and brings me right back to my natural relaxed self.

  39. I close my eyes… take several yogic breaths… and succumb to “legs up the wall” for at least five minutes…. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh πŸ˜‰

  40. I take a long, hot bath, with lavender oil and enjoy a piece of organic dark chocolate πŸ™‚

  41. walks outside, crossword puzzles, and leg’s up the wall my all time favorite yoga pose!

  42. at least a few times a week after I tuck my son in bed, I unroll my mat outside his door and rest in supta baddha konasana in the dark hallway…it’s heavenly.

  43. With 3 slow, and deep out breath i feel relaxed in 30 secs. With 8 mins, I create the relaxation response in my body with a meditation focusing on the breath and repeating a single word with every exhale. When i have 20 mins I like to relax every part of my body through a deep body scan meditation

  44. On piles of blocks and bolsters, one slow, deep breath at a time, with a lavender-scented eyebag. If my mind is busy, I mentally repeat a mantra or affirmation.