Restorative yoga is on the up and up. We’re seeing more studios and teachers, even here in our humble city of York, offering restorative classes, courses and workshops. But should you consider adding the prop-heavy, super slow vibe of this stuff into your wellness routine? Well, we reckon the answer to that is a resounding yes. Here’s why.
1. You need to slow down. Guaranteed. This sort of practice is about more yin energy, or the slow, resting energy, compared to the yang energy, or lifted in-and-up of a regular yoga class. And actually, it’s a way of conscious relaxation. A bit like a meditation for the whole body. And whether you’re a student or retiree, we all DO too much and feel too little. Restorative yoga, whilst maybe a little tricky at first for our chattering mind, is a perfect way to learn to find a slower pace (and yes, this is as much of a practice as nailing a perfect downward dog).
2. You’ll learn where you’re holding tension in your physical body and learn to let it go. When you’re in a pose for longer periods of time, as in a restorative practice, you really start to feel things. And this feeeeeling of stuff leads us to really understanding our bodies more and learning to let things go. We can then return to our regular non-yoga lives with more consciousness. Or that’s the theory.
3. Apparently restorative yogis have an improved immune system, and a balanced nervous system. Maybe they don’t, but it’s worth a try anyway, right? Restorative practices also help improve digestion, help us sleep better, and aid in tissue repair. It can also be a great way to avoid a ‘heart event’. Yes, less of them please.
But what should you expect in a restorative class? Well, lots of props. That yang – in and up – energy needs to come from somewhere. So we generally let props do that work for us, to allow us to find more softness.
You’ll generally hold a pose for long periods of time – anything from 2-6 minutes or so. And get rid of that idea of warrior poses, vinyasas, or balances. This stuff will see you getting up-close and personal with your mat (let’s hope the floor’s clean eh?). Take a blanket if your studio doesn’t provide them for an extra level of cosiness.
This practice, although still physically beneficial (in more ways than we’ve listed!) is for some of us a truly mental practice. Learning how to switch that frantic mind off, or turn the thing down at least, is a practice in itself. Once you get it, holy cow, you get it. Everyone around you – your dog included – will start to feel your zen vibes.