Restorative yoga is a fabulous practise to include in your busy life or to complement your regular active yoga practice or fitness regime. The 4 reasons mentioned are only a few of the amazing health benefits to this style of yoga which is typically passive in nature rather than active. This style of yoga If Restorative Yoga is new to you, it's a very healing practice that allows your body-mind to unwind, distress and heal.
Many props - bolsters, blocks, straps, blankets, the wall, the floor - are used to support your body during postures. Your body should feel 100% supported by the props during postures so it can relax more fully & completely. The props are strategically placed in each posture to open different areas of your body. As your body relaxes as fully as possible over the props and into the effects of gravity, the area being targeted is gently stretched and slowly opened. I usually recommend not surpassing 50-60% of your maximum stretch capacity in any given posture so it may be held for a more restorative duration. Each restorative is often held 5 to 20 minutes long depending on the pose. However like any practise, to begin you may stay in postures a shorter period of time at a stretch capacity closer to 30-40% of your maximum then over time build to longer holds with a stretch that is closer to 50-60% of your maximum. This does vary for each individual. In any case, if the amount of stretch you are getting in a posture disrupts your ability to rest deeply, it's too much.
Throughout this practise, deep rest is desired. Yet the rest is a conscious relaxation wherein your body is resting as deeply as possible and you are mindful of your breath, aware of the changing nature of sensations in your body while you stay in the posture. In others words, you're not sleeping. But not to worry, falling asleep in these postures can happen easily especially if you are sleep deprived. Also because here in the West, typically the only time we give our bodies a chance to rest is when it's bedtime so we naturally associate rest with sleep. Again the more you practise conscious relaxation within restorative postures, the more accessible it becomes.
Most yoga studios are starting to understand the importance of including restorative yoga to their roster of classes. As a result, it's becoming easier to find throughout the city. If your life has been running at a full pace, if you are a city dweller constantly bombarded with noise, bright lights & stimulus or if you are recovering from illness, injury or have limited mobility, give restorative yoga a try. It will reduce stress responses, help you heal and balance out the busy-ness!
I look forward to sharing and exploring more about how awesome restorative yoga and other healing practices & modalities can be for maintaining optimum wellness ! If you are interested in training or taking yoga classes or thai massage courses with me, you can learn more here: http://bit.ly/1SL4whQ
©Metta Movement Arts/RestoraTHAI