Restorative yoga is a passive yoga practice that allows deep relaxation. Unlike “regular” yoga classes, you don’t flow between poses, instead there are only about 4-6 poses and you hold each of them for about 5-20min. In restorative yoga we work with many props, such as blankets, bolsters, blocks and straps. These props completely support your body shape in the yoga poses, in order for you to be able to fully let go. There is no muscular effort needed. Through the support of the props you can completely let go of muscular and inner tension. There is no goal to restorative yoga poses, such as strengthening or stretching. Instead it gives you space to quiet your body and mind, finding stillness and to turn your attention inwards.
We tend to live very busy and stressful lives and eventually this has effects on our body and mind.
Our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) – “fight or flight” mode- was originally developed to protect us from physical danger (such as being chased by animals) by giving us short bursts of energy. These days we don’t tend to have this kind of physical danger in our daily lives. However, constant stress has the same effect on our SNS. When we perceive stress, our brain triggers the SNS in order to deal with the current situation and releases cortisol (one of the main stress hormones). When we are constantly under stress this has negative effects on our body – for example, increased blood pressure, digestive problems, faster and shallower breathing and more.
It is understandable how this isn’t very good for us in the long run.
Our body and mind need to rest. Restorative yoga allows us to recharge and to balance our nervous system again.
Restorative yoga helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) – “rest and digest” mode. This allows your body to restore and heal itself again. It helps to slow down your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety and stress, improves sleep and boosts your immune system.
You will feel better able to deal with everyday stress and feel more balanced. And all you have to do for this is rest in various poses – no expectation, no effort; just allowing yourself to rest and let go. As you are staying in poses for an extended period of time your body is able to slowly release all the tension that you are holding onto.
Restorative yoga is a beautiful inclusive yoga practice. Available for everybody. All you need to do is to give it a try.