What is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative Yoga is a yoga practice which involves placing the body into supported yoga postures with the use of props (blankets, blocks & cushions ) to encourage deep relaxation and calming of the mind. There are many benefits to Restorative Yoga including relief from chronic stress, tension, pain, anxiety and fatigue as well as reducing effects of stress-based diseases. This practice helps calm the nervous system therefore helps balance hormones and boost the immune system. Restorative also helps alleviate depression and insomnia and has been shown to help in the treatment of infertility.
Restorative yoga is the practice of “Active Relaxation”. We know that the antidote to stress is relaxation. To relax is to rest deeply. This rest is different from sleep. Deep states of sleep include periods of dreaming which increase muscular tension. Relaxation is a state in which there is no movement, no effort with the intention to quiet the mind. In restorative yoga when we place the body in comfortable supported positions, we bring gentle attention towards the breath and sensations in the body. This allows for the body to relax more deeply and enhance our sense of awareness. In essence a deep re-connection of body, mind, heart, and spirit.
During a Restorative Yoga practice, the emphasis is placed on consciously shifting the body into a Relaxation Response, the physiological state of the autonomic nervous system characterized by a slower heart rate and breathing rate, lower blood pressure and slower brain wave patterns. This allows for the body to heal as it inherently releases layers of tension. When we surrender to the intelligence of the body, we let go, consciously and unconsciously so that our body is able to restore back to health. Taking time out regularly to relax and renew is essential to our overall wellbeing.