Let’s break down what restorative yoga really means
Restoration means “the act of returning something to a former and improved condition”. It’s what each of us needs to be in full command of our lives and selves. When our sense of contentment and well-being are feeling off-kilter, it’s time to address what we’ve been ignoring. Restorative yoga is a highly effective way to do this.
In a restorative yoga class, there are lots of bolsters, blankets, eye pillows, sandbags, and other props that help each of us to receive an assist as we approach each posture with ease and a gentle intention. Typically postures are held for several minutes so the practitioner can fully receive the benefits and dive deep into a relaxed state. Postures include hip openers, shoulder and hamstring stretches and gentle releases for the spine and shoulders.
We are a culture that is highly focused on achievement. For many of us being busy brings us a sense of productivity. But y’all, it’s a false belief. We absolutely have to slow down. When we ignore all of the obvious signs we need rest, relaxation, and to do basically nothing, we pay the price.
We get ill. We get ill-tempered, for sure. It’s far too easy to convince ourselves that we have way too much to do to take a break and attend to ourselves. But the irony is, if we don’t, we’ll be out of commission for much longer. Even if we don’t fall prey to sickness, the icky sense of being off-balance and inauthentic will creep around to eventually confront us and demand we hear it’s plea to take better care of ourselves. Restorative yoga is here to help.
Why restorative yoga could be the answer you’ve been ignoring
The benefits of restorative yoga are vast. Even if you’re typical practice is hard-core heat building and you absolutely love it, you might be surprised just how much you’ll eventually adore the permission to chill. By not trying to accomplish anything aside from an improvement in our disposition and a gentler feeling in our bodies, we obtain so much. Here are just a few benefits of restorative yoga:
- Improved flexibility. As mentioned above, many of the postures offered in restorative yoga classes stretch our hamstrings, spines, shoulders, ankles, and hips with support.
- A calmer nervous system. When we are breathing deeply and effectively, our entire nervous system benefits and finds more balance.
- An improved mood. Every single time I make the effort to calm down and slow down with rejuvenating yoga versus my typical vinyasa class, I’m amazed at how much better my disposition is when I leave the class. Everyone walks out calmer, smiling, and overarchingly more relaxed.
- A deeply relaxed body. If you have trouble sleeping, try a restorative yoga class in the evening. The sense of relaxation will carry with you long after class and hopefully into bed with you.
- More compassion. Taking care of yourself and being gentle and kind to your own body extends to everyone around you.
- Stillness of the mind. Restorative yoga works a lot like meditation. If you can’t get a handle on the various places your brain just will not stop going, trying a more rejuvenating style of yoga might just do the trick to help you focus and direct your thoughts in a positive direction.
Still not convinced?
If you don’t fall in love with restorative yoga the first time you try it, do yourself a favor and give it some time. Go easy on yourself if relaxing feels like the least appealing thing in the world. Many of us can relate to this constant state of movement and accomplishment. The benefits are just waiting to embrace you and send you down the road of rejuvenation.