What Is Restorative Yoga? (And Why Should You Do It?)
At times, we are so mystified by all the beautiful and wondrous chaos that surrounds us that we become too engulfed in the details of our everyday lives. We forget to go inwards – to ground ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is when we reconnect with our bodies, our minds and our centre, that we heal and recharge our sense of being.
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One of my personal favourite practices (evoking a sense of grounding, healing, and renewal) is restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga is a gentle and therapeutic style of yoga, featuring poses that open the body and allow the nervous system to rest. They enable you to recharge by expending minimal energy – which makes restorative yoga the perfect way to get in your daily session when you are too exhausted for a vigorous one.
For those who live a hectic, high-pressure and restless lifestyle, restorative yoga may be a way to bring balance to the body and the mind. It can benefit those with high blood pressure and breathing problems, through finding deeper relaxation both mentally and physically. Not only can restorative yoga aid in improving organ functionality and the detoxification of the body, it reduces general and localized stress/tension in the body as well. The use and support of props can de-pressurize joints, making this particular kind of yoga accessible and customizable to all bodies.
In addition, restorative yoga provides an opportunity for stillness, calm, peace, and personal introspection. Restorative poses are a great tool for those who practice meditation and mindfulness, offering alternate poses that are comfortable (this is especially beneficial if one suffers from any injuries or tightness). The practice can be completed as a full, long session, or even just as a single five-minute pose in isolation.
The beauty of restorative yoga is having the option to practice it at any point throughout the day, whether that be during your more vigorous practice for rest, or to re-energize before or after a long day at work.
The therapeutic potential of the practice can be used to invite and speed up the healing process (whether physical, energetic or emotional). Each restorative pose invites an opening of space into an area of the body, and sometimes multiple areas at once. The quality of lengthening in these poses should always be easeful; it is an opportunity to lengthen and release connective tissue (as opposed to muscle tissue). Instead of stretching in this practice, we are lengthening, making this one of the therapeutic applications of restorative practice.
Restorative yoga welcomes all, and is a great practice to incorporate into your everyday life. Whether your body longs for an energetic boost or physical relief, the offerings of restorative yoga are endless.
Aren’t we all in it for the savasana anyways?
Brown, Christina. The Book of Yoga: Bringing the Body, Mind, and Spirit into Balance and Harmony. Bath, UK: Parragon, 2005. Print.
Tamblyn-Sabo, J-P. Ahimsa Yogayama. Toron
Photos: Mackenna Wood Photography