With the rise of yoga in the West, there’s been an influx of yoga styles, each expressing their own blend of breathing, poses, meditation, chanting, relaxation, and philosophy. Restorative yoga, a practice that leads you toward a more healing and relaxing experience, brings a host of wonderful benefits that are often overshadowed by the popularity and visibility of more dynamic and flowing styles of yoga.
A restorative practice frequently relies on the use of props and the prolonged holding of a few simple poses to achieve a deep level of relaxation. Moving your practice into this place has a host of benefits for a calmer and more connected life.
If you’ve never explored this style of yoga, this is your open invitation to explore how it can create balance and relaxation in your life.
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Slows down the pace of our busy lives
Restorative yoga is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from the frantic activity of daily life and let yourself return to stillness and rest. It offers a place of calm among all the turbulence of life and helps to prepare the mind and body for the inward practice of meditation and deepened awareness. Moving slowly through the poses allows you to explore your mind and body at a steady and natural tempo.
Soothes the nervous system
The slower pace and deep breathing that you get in a restorative practice triggers the parasympathetic nervous system from the very first pose. This activation helps to alleviate the effects of the regular fight-or-flight stress mode that can be damaging to your physiology and well-being. The overall calming effect on the nervous system encourages a deeply relaxed internal environment that comforts your mind and body down.
Poses that are held for longer periods of time in comfort cultivate space for a deeper experience of the poses and the breath. Awareness of the physical sensations and he thoughts or emotions that arise, can all take on a much more profound significance in the depth of the restorative practice.
Allows time for introspection
The beautiful quality of restorative yoga is that it often helps you draw attention inward and away from the external world. With your awareness directed within, the practice becomes a sanctuary for the mind and spirit from which you can take a deeper look at who you are, what you want, and how you can serve the world. Restorative yoga opens us up to new levels of self-exploration and contemplation, allowing your true inner self to come forward to yourself and to the world.
Creates deeper awareness of your actions
Through the mindfulness of the practice, you become increasingly aware of your actions and how they influence your level of comfort or discomfort. You can see the direct cause and effect relationship between your poses, breathing, and overall level of well-being. As this experience continues to deepen, you begin to make more deliberate and attentive choices, both on and off the mat.
By its very nature, the restorative yoga practice is the antithesis of the ‘push yourself’ mentality. You receive the greatest benefits from your practice not through forcing yourself into a pose, but by releasing and surrendering to it. This mentality helps to cultivate acceptance of your body and any of its restrictions or limitations. Further, it strengthens your ability to let go of preconceived notions of your body and how you think it should look or feel, both in and out of a pose. When increased ease and comfort are the theme of your yoga practice, acceptance and detachment naturally emerge as a result and this creates a strong support for a more dynamic vinyasa flow practice.
Helps you feel nurtured
In daily life it’s easy to get pulled into the insecurity of the modern world. Many people move through life led by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Restorative yoga provides you with a safe harbor wherein you can reconnect with your true nature, which is invincible, pure, and nourishing. Making that connection through your poses, breathing, and deep relaxation restores the memory of who you really are.