Restorative Yoga is all about using an age-old practice in a completely new way so as to restore health and balance of the body. The effects of restorative yoga are often overlooked but the fact is – restorative yoga goes deeper into poses, and just feeling the restorative power of them does wonders to the body, the mind and the soul.
Restorative Yoga – Relax Your Body, Relax Your Mind
Let’s face it – some yoga poses taste a little bit sweeter than others. And if yoga were a smorgasbord, restorative postures would most definitely be at the dessert table. These soothing and well-supported poses offer us the opportunity to linger quietly for a few moments and savor the simple sweetness of life.
In restorative yoga, props are used for support the body so that you can hold poses for longer, allowing you to open your body through passive stretching. Restorative poses are deeply supported by blankets, blocks, or other props which give them particular ability to leave us nourished and well rested even after holding for several minutes at a time.
Guiding Principle of Restorative Yoga: “Support Creates Release”
Every pose in restorative yoga is based on a support, and the aim of each pose is the same: relaxation. The most obvious feature of a restorative yoga class is the array of props that support the body to release muscular tension. When the body is fully supported in a pose, you can relax into the shape of the pose without exerting any physical effort to stay there. You can therefore “receive” rather than “do” the pose.
Restorative Yoga for Beginners
Restorative practice can be intimidating, especially for beginners. With all the props, it seems to be more tiresome than anything else. But just a few guiding tips will help you start a regular restorative practice of your own.
Tip #1: Start with a warm up: Start out with a few minutes of gentle movement before settling into a restorative pose or practice. A little stretching will warm the muscles and create space in the body to prepare it for relaxation. A quick warm up will prepare your body to absorb the power of restorative yoga poses.
Tip #2: Don’t be scared of props: Restorative yoga is based on giving full support to your body. Blocks, straps, blankets, balls, towels, chairs, walls, sandbags, eye bags, and pillows are all considered fair game when supporting yourself in these poses. The more fully your body is supported, the deeper your sense of relaxation will be.
Tip #3: Choose the time that suits you: Often people wonder what’s the best time to do restorative yoga? The answer is – restorative yoga postures can be practiced at any time of the day. Ideally, one would start their day with yin poses and breath work. It is a great way to wake up the body and clear the mind before launching into the day. Many people practice restorative postures at the end of the day, before bed. This slows the body and mind down, and prepares the body for sleep.
Tip #4: Select the right postures: Restorative Yoga is the yoga of deep, aware relaxation. It is yoga of ‘Being’, rather than yoga of ‘Doing’. It relies on you using a sequence of 3 or 4 specially designed postures in which your body is completely supported. These postures need to be selected carefully to suit your unique needs. Picking just any pose may not give perfect results so try to consult a yoga teacher before selecting the poses for your yoga practice.
Tip #5: Take time and practice: With restorative yoga, there is one thing you can’t do without i.e. time. In time and with practice, you will be rewarded with the ability to drop with ease into a place of deep contentment. This is what yoga is all about, after all stilling our fidgety bodies and calming our rambling minds so that we may rest quietly in the present moment and see clearly the peace that resides within.
What To Expect From Restorative Yoga?
We work very hard in our lives, and while we may sleep, we rarely take time to rest. The intention of restorative yoga is to recover vitality by working the body in a very gentle manner.
Restorative yoga poses help us learn to relax and rest deeply and completely. Therefore, almost every restorative yoga sequence focuses on maintaining a relaxing atmosphere so the body can release the stress and get rest.
Try restorative yoga and get in harmony with your mind and body today!