Restore and Rebalance: Yoga for Deep Relaxation

BOOK REVIEW: Restore and Rebalance: Yoga for Deep Relaxation,
by Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT

Review by Molly McManus

Once again, Judith Hanson Lasater has provided an inspired and detailed resource for Restorative Yoga. This new book updates her 1993 Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times and includes more information on the therapeutic use of this style of yoga. As Lasater states, “Restorative yoga is . . . for people of all ages, at all levels of yoga experience, and in all states of health.”

She repeatedly reminds us that the real work of yoga is internal: “Restorative yoga is about opening, not stretching,” and “[s]peed is the enemy of relaxation.” This book represents something different from the modern view of yoga that makes it seem more like breath-focused exercise than the path to healing and consciousness that it truly is.

The book is divided into three parts. Section 1, “Getting Started,” is key to understanding the restorative methodology and contains specific information about using Restorative Yoga to transition from the overly activated state many of us inhabit. Section 2, “The Poses,” includes 12 separate poses with multiple variations. Included for each pose is information on its benefits, contraindications, and areas of concern; props and detailed setup instructions; internally focused guidelines for abiding in the position; tips for the best way to exit each pose to retain the maximum benefits; and details on how best to use the pose as therapy. Section 3, “Practice Sequences,” has suggestions based on time available as well as combinations that address specific conditions, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, lower-back pain, and menopause.

The only fault I can find with this book is one that Lasater addresses herself: Many of the poses demonstrated may be beyond the reach of those with chronic pain conditions. To counter this, she highlights the adaptive nature of Restorative Yoga, and especially with the creative guidance of a qualified yoga therapist, I am certain this book can well serve a range of students.

Molly McManus, C-IAYT, AHC, SE, is co-owner of Yoga North International Soma Yoga Institute. As a speaker and educator, she is sought out for her special areas of interest—the resolution of chronic pain and creating systems for whole-being wellness.

A version of this review first appeared in Yoga Therapy Today.