Restorative yoga gives you an opportunity to take the time to nurture your body, mind and spirit to undo the stress that has built up over time. It works on a deep level to unravel emotions and energy that affect your physical and mental well-being.
What is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga is a relaxing form of yoga that is passive and receptive. Unlike yoga classes that involve a flow, in restorative yoga, you flow with your breath in passive poses that are held for about 3-5 minutes or more. You are not expected to do anything but breath and let go. The practice allows your body and mind to release stress on a deeper level which promotes healing within the body.
This practice involves the use of props like blocks, blankets, straps, cushions and bolsters. Postures are modified with props to greatly reduce or eliminate strain on the body, which assists your body in its own recovery. It’s a very therapeutic practice and one that many people are flocking to to recover from injuries or reduce stress in their lives.
5 Benefits Of Restorative Yoga
1. Restorative Yoga Reduces Stress
Anxiety, depression and stress are prevalent in our society. We are living in a time where our instantaneous response is rewarded through social media, emails and a tech-based lifestyle. Technology is good but too much can make our body’s tense and our minds race.
Restorative yoga works to relax the body’s conditioned impulse to react. Poses and breathing techniques in restorative yoga work on the parasympathetic nervous system to promote calmness and allow us enter a state of blissful awareness. This reduces our heart rate, increases glandular activity (hormonal balance), and relaxes our digestive tract. Try this restorative sequence and see how you feel afterwards!
2. Practicing Restorative Yoga Can Help You Recover From Injury
Because restorative yoga brings about homeostasis, the body’s natural way of regulating itself, it helps you recover from injuries. Certain poses reduce compression and promote pain relief. It is recommended for people with back, neck, wrist and joint pain.
3. Restorative Yoga Boosts Your Immune System
Restorative yoga reduces our body’s secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn lowers blood pressure and reduces blood glucose. It also reduces congestion and sinus pressure. When our body’s are in a more relaxed state, it can fend off colds and the fly more easily thereby thrusting our immune system into disease prevention mode.
4. Restorative Yoga Promotes Hormonal Balance In Women
Think of restorative yoga as a therapeutic way to balance our hormones with little to no effort. Ancient yogis knew the best kept secret for women on their menstrual cycle or those experiencing hormonal imbalances from menopause or pregnancy, was a gentle yoga practice. It conserves your energy and helps alleviate bloating and cramping.
5. Frequent Restorative Yoga Balances Your Energy
Our emotional state is interconnected with our subtle body, also known as our energetic body. It is an invisible field of energy that runs along channels in our body that move prana or life force energy. This flowing energy meets in seven major centers that run along our spine known as the chakras. In the yogic tradition, it is said that when these energetic centers are in balance we experience health and well-being. Restorative yoga promotes vital balance and awareness of the chakras.
When we are stressed, our energy cannot move freely the way it’s supposed to. These blockages create imbalance in our body and make it more susceptible to illness and injury. The techniques offered in restorative yoga work to release these blockages of prana and place us in a state of ease. It gets to the root of the block and allows us to consciously experience tension release. The most important part of the practice is learning how to listen to the body and pausing when it’s needed. It’s purpose is to take away the distractions that cause us fear, stress and pain and allow us let go and just be. It’s healing the yoga way.