Learn the Art of Relaxation through Restorative Yoga
About the Practice
Restorative yoga promotes deep relaxation within the body and mind. This meditative yoga practice incorporates yoga poses that require little to no muscular effort. Poses are held for about 5-10 minutes and our bodies are supported with yoga props like bolsters, blocks, blankets, and straps. Using props assist in achieving a deeper state of relaxation by allowing us to be as comfortable as possible within each pose. This also maximizes our ability to let go of stress and tension in the body. While holding each pose, we connect to our breath to guide us into relaxation. One of my favorite breathing techniques to use in this practice is using every inhale to look for stress or tension within the body, and using every exhale to see if we can let go of whatever we may be holding onto. Restorative yoga helps us to calm the body through self soothing techniques and rejuvenate the mind through its meditative rhythm.
Although restorative yoga does not work superficial muscles, it does effect our deep muscles, joints, bones, and spine. With gentle pressure extends our mobility, lengthens connective tissues, benefits the immune system, and improves blood circulation. This practice is very slow and requires little effort, so the possibility of injury during a restorative yoga practice is highly unlikely. It is the physical practice that elicits the relaxation response the most. This yoga practice slows breathing, reduces blood pressure, releases muscular tension, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, and produces a feeling of calm and increased well-being. All of these benefits lower our heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels while increasing oxygen consumption. In turn, symptoms of stress related conditions are alleviated.
This practice is popular among older teens, adults, and seniors that are looking to relax and unwind through a meditative practice that does not require muscular effort. This practice may come as a challenge for young children, since the attention will be devoted to stillness majority of the class. Although, I highly recommend this practice for seniors, those with limited mobility, or people looking to recover and restore from injury or stress. This is a great practice for anyone experiencing insomnia, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, and for those that have trouble slowing down. It is recommended when participating in a restorative yoga class to wear comfortable and warm clothing, as this practice is very slow and will not build internal heat within the body unlike other yoga styles. I find that the best time to practice restorative yoga is in the evenings when we tend to be more drowsy. Then we can gently stretch our tired bodies after a long day of work while our minds are granted time to rest and unwind before finishing our day.
relax the mind, restore the body, and connect to the breath, unwind with ease,
release tension, let go of stress, ease muscular tension, and more!