Yoga is an all-encompassing practice, from exercise to spiritual awakening. Restorative yoga stands out among the other yoga styles due to its unique approach. By definition, restorative practice attempts to do just that, restore the body. It stands out compared to the other types of yoga, focused entirely on rest and recuperation. It doesn’t focus on strength or stamina. Instead, it allows the body to ground and soften. In a restorative yoga class, movement is at a minimum. Poses are often held for an extended period of time, allowing the body to sink into the earth and deeply relax. This practice encourages the use of yoga props, pillows and blankets, to make the students more comfortable. By placing the props strategically around the body, practitioners can focus entirely on breathing and meditation. Holding poses for longer and breathing deeper makes the muscles relax more easily. Restorative practice is a great way to stretch deep tissue and leave you feeling rejuvenated at the end of each class!
History of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga came from the author of Light on Yoga and the creator of his own self-titled branch of yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar. The idea was to provide the students with a way to do so without feeling pain, or getting injured. This practice developed in the ’70s, right around the time when yoga began to catch on and spread throughout the Western world. Today, restoration and recovery through slow-paced yoga practice are very common. Most studios have some form of a restorative class. It provides the students with a chance to calm the mind after a long day in this chaotic world.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
During this kind of slow-flowing, static practice, the heartbeat slows down along with your thoughts and breaths. This allows tension to melt away, even from the most difficult-to-reach corners of the body. Restorative yoga is a great combat measure against anxiety and stress, as the restorative practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This type of yoga is also highly beneficial for the organs and organ systems, as these stretches promote the release of toxins. On a physical level, those that practice regularly can enjoy longer and deeper sleep, less tension and stiffness, with the promotion of lubrication to all the joints. When you get a chance, be sure to try a restorative practice. After each class, you will feel well-rested and ready to combat whatever challenges life throw your way.