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My Favorite Restorative Practices

Feeling fried? These practices helped restore and revitalize my mind and body after a period of deep emotional and physical overwhelm–and that I now keep in my permanent toolbox.


Did you know that recent studies show that a regular meditation practice is as effective as antidepressants (!) and can actually physically shrink your fear brain, lowering anxiety? I felt its powerful effects even before I learned this—and am still floored every time I read the science showing its impressive impact on everything from stress to sleep to (slowing) aging to heart health.

If you’re looking to explore and/or establish a practice, check out my tips for newbies! Using an app or attending a live class (in-person or virtual) is a great place to start as you’ll have a guide walking you through the experience. Although a daily practice is the most beneficial, you can begin to feel positive effects with just a few minutes a day or several sessions a week.


Yep, I’d never heard of it before until recently either but this “supported resting,” as I like to call it, or meditation-meets-sleepy-yoga is incredible at downshifting your nervous system. Through long-held, relaxing poses atop supportive blankets, bolsters, and other props, and often verbal, meditative cues, it signals to your body and brain that it’s OK to relax and release tension. As a longtime dancer, I sometimes appreciate the practice more than meditation as I can focus not just on breath, but also the various physical sensations and releasing of each pose.

Restorative yoga is on the rise at yoga studios (which makes sense given our collective chronic stress!), and online, too. The style and quality of classes can vary, so ask around and Google what’s available near you and try out a few classes to see what clicks. Many incredible, nationally known teachers teach virtually, like the divine Jillian Pransky, my teacher trainer, and the other-worldly Yuval Samburski, who led my first restorative yoga experience.

(Yin yoga can have some similar benefits but is an active, deep stretch, rather than just resting, so I recommend restorative over yin for a real reset.)


We all know personally how powerful music can be. Science also shows that certain frequencies—and sound baths—can change our brain waves, heal and de-stress. In a sound bath, you lie down and relax (usually with a group, similar to a yoga class) while a practitioner plays singing bowls, chimes, sometimes gongs and other instruments. It can help your brain get out of day-to-day mode, into a deep, meditative state, and vibrating on a different metaphorical and literal level. I have both blissed out and cried in sound baths and afterwards always feel so much lighter and more whole.

Like restorative yoga, sound baths are growing in popularity. Explore what’s on the schedule near you. Many studios and apps (including Unplug) also offer live and pre-recorded sound baths, but personally, I don’t find them to be as resonant, so I save these up for special in-person experiences.


I admit it: finding the time and funds for an in-person retreat and extricating from one’s job, family and other responsibilities and can be and/or feel impossible. But IF you are feeling overwhelmed and desperately need a break, I cannot recommend highly enough getting away and taking some time for yourself and your health, whether for a few hours or few days. Deep, deep healing is possible when you can literally step out of your everyday and make your health a top priority.

I took my first ever retreat (restorative yoga and sound healing) in 2022. It was hard to get over the guilt of leaving my family and responsibilities (and even just work up the courage to ask my husband if it was OK to go!). But the trip changed my life. Leaving my everyday life and stress behind and replacing these with beauty and nourishment for a few days bumped me out of my anxiety spiral and allowed me to release deep-seated stress in a way I didn’t know was possible.

If you only have a few hours or a day, wonderful! Check out workshops at a yoga studio or retreat center near you. Sometimes just an hour or two can be profoundly restorative, especially for over-busy, working parents.

If you have a week or weekend available, amazing! The Kripalu Center in the Berkshires is phenomenal; a place where everything is yoga and the tranquil setting is truly transportive. I’ve also heard great things about the Omega Center(N.Y.) and Esalen Institute (Calif.); there are countless other retreat centers across the States.

Some studios and centers offer scholarships to make programming accessible to those who otherwise might not able to afford it, so it’s worth looking into if cost is an issue.

My overall advice is: don’t wait until your crisis for self-care! What can you do for yourself today, this week, this month to refuel your tank?

There’s only one you with your one precious life, so take care of yourself. Much like the old plane safety speech about securing your own mask first, nurturing and healing yourself allows you to be your best so that you can better attend to everything and everyone in your life.

Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential.


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