Restorative yoga can look like a very passive practice, yet the “Power of Slow” has multiple benefits!
Yoga helps us in so many ways – our body and mind are strengthened and calmed, and our energy will be improved through a wide variety of yoga practices (it’s not all about the postures – asanas).
However, the fast pace of our lives can lead us to have fast, busy minds and a nervous system that is constantly set to “go-go-go”, which makes it hard for us to relax, wind down, rest or sleep well. In turn we can feel anxious, stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed or irritable.
Often people believe that if they lack energy or are stressed, a strong fitness class will resolve the problem. Not so. We end up over stimulated, depleted and lose our natural ability to wind down and rest – which is vital if we want a truly healthy life.
As many of my readers know, some years ago I was very ill with ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), and it was a tough and challenging journey. Restorative yoga coupled with gentle yoga (slightly different) really supported me to recover; you have to be in a physiological ‘healing state’ to recover from any illness, and yoga – with its breadth of gentle postures, breathwork, relaxation and meditation – played a key role in that journey.
Practicing Restorative Yoga really does help us to balance our lifestyle – and has a profound effect that supports our health holistically. It can heal stress-related physical and emotional issues, improve immunity, improve PMT/PMS/Peri-post menopause and also support you post-surgery or illness. In Restorative yoga class we use props like bolsters, blankets and blocks to completely support the body in postures and we stay there for between 3, 5 or even 10 minutes per posture. This style of yoga can be particularly helpful if you are chronically ill or recovering from ME/CFS, long covid or injury.
There are Multiple Benefits of Restorative yoga
The beauty of Restorative yoga is that we don’t have to contract our muscles. Though we often believe we have to work hard to stretch to increase our flexibility, we can actually achieve more by softening, releasing and relaxing than by forcing our way through a strong, dynamic asana practice.
The key difference is the approach. During a Restorative yoga sequence, we still stretch, but we’re encouraged to relax fully in the stretch with the aid of the props so that we can release tension and focus on the breath. This helps us to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for the rest and digest process), which helps combat that feeling of ‘overdrive’ that we often find ourselves in.
Because our body and mind become softer, this means we can also create the space to get in touch with our natural qualities of compassion and understanding of ourselves – often lacking when we are stressed or exhausted.
Restorative yoga benefits us by:-
- Deeply relaxes the body
- Stills a busy mind
- Releases muscular tension, improving mobility and flexibility
- Improves capacity for healing and balancing
- Balances the nervous system
- Boosts the immune system
- Develops qualities of compassion and understanding toward others and self.
I am a Holistic Yoga Teacher (500 hours), plus I have completed additional training specialising in “Yoga for Stress, Burnout and Fatigue” and “Yoga for Resilience”. This is deeply healing work and vital in today’s world with Covid and such a high prevalence of stress-related health conditions. With long experience as a Positive Psychology Wellbeing Coach and a Counsellor, I bring compassion and gentleness to my classes – with a good drop of humour!
Experience the benefits of restorative yoga yourself with my next 6 week course, starting on Friday 11th March. We meet both in person and livestream via Zoom from 1.45pm to 3pm. An option to purchase the recordings for home practice is also available. Want to learn more? Pop me a MESSAGE. Or feel welcome to BOOK NOW via online booking.