Spotlight on Yoga; Restorative
There is no more beautiful ending to a stressful day than a glorious Restorative practice. As the least “impacting’ form of yoga, Restorative allows for the practitioner to have space to breathe, relax, and release the mind in a series of postures that require little to no physical effort. The key to this type of yoga is to simply let go, and it is difficult for anyone to not enjoy the gentle, soothing effects of this meditative form of yoga.
Restorative yoga has been practiced for centuries, but has become popularized in our modern culture with all the added stress of the high-tech era. It has been proven to reduce chronic stress, increase sleep cycles during nightly rest, and lower blood pressure. While minimal effort is required, each specific posture is designed to increase blood flow and circulation while increasing restfulness.
In addition to this, Restorative yoga is designed to move the spine in many directions, increasing flexibility in the back. It also stimulates the vital organs by allowing fluids to be drained and renewed with fresh, circulating blood (i.e. back bends have been shown to rid the abdominal of old fluids and encourage new vital fluids to rush in). Finally, Restorative yoga balances both the yin and yang aspects of yoga, the prana and apana breath cycles, so that neither are depleted during practice.
Although props are always available and encouraged in all forms of yoga, props are a central focus in a Restorative practice. Blocks, bolsters, and straps are used for postures in back and forward bends that help to provide a hold-free asana in which all the benefits are felt in their most relaxed setting. It may not feel like you’re doing any work, and that’s the point! The more effortless it feels, the stronger the benefits in your restorative position.
Since it is so gentle, Restorative is ideal for beginners. However, due to its incredible benefits, it is highly recommended to advanced practitioners as well. Learning to breathe through gentleness as well as strength is an essential part of the yogic being and is much more than your “yogi nap”. It’s an essential of your vital energy, so be certain that you never miss out on this treat of practice.
Restorative yoga is available at all of our Yoga Tree locations. If it is available in your schedule, try a class at the end of a long day at work. You will be surprised at how deeply you can unwind with the properly supported asana!