My first experience with Restorative Yoga was at my local studio in Seattle, WA over 8 years ago. I had no idea what to expect but I knew the practice included props: blankets, bolster, blocks, eye pillows. That all sounded decadent and spalike to me! I have never felt so supported, comforted, relaxed or soothed as I did during and after that very first class. And, I had never slept so well! I returned EVERY single week and eventually became the assistant at the studio for Restorative Yoga.
Let me start by saying here that I am healthy, able to practice all kinds of yoga, and while I enjoy a more active practice - Restorative Yoga remains a weekly staple in my life and the one practice I return to time and again for a mental, physical and spiritual "reset".
We live in an age of daily digital assault, demands, overwork, stress and ultimately - these things wear you down (some faster than others). While all yoga can help you manage these lifestyle issues, Restorative Yoga is uniquely suited to restoring balance to your mind, body and soul. Why and how?
In Restorative Yoga we practice ground bound poses (mostly) that are supported by props. This means you don't practice the pose - the pose practices you. You receive all the benefits of yoga poses along with a sense of grounding, stability, support. In this way, your body is able to switch into it's healing, digesting, balancing mode instead of fight, flight, adrenaline rush mode! Why is this important? Research shows that many heart attacks are caused by stress putting the body into continuous fight/flight mode and the body, at some point, not being able to relax, release and heal. Your body has an innate repair system. It desires to return to homeostasis, equilibrium, balance. To do that - it must rest and feel supported so it can release and begin the healing process. Restorative Yoga helps by releasing the tension from the body through supported poses while you are AWAKE and AWARE. It is mindful relaxation and mindful relaxation can reduce high blood pressure, help with insomnia, and support your bodies own healing process - both physically and mentally.
So how often should you practice Restorative Yoga? As often as you need it, as often as your body craves it, as often as it feels good - but definitely at least once a week! Even if you only have time for 1 or 2 poses for 10 minutes a few times a week - it can help!
A note here about props - just because you don't own a cart load of props doesn't mean you cannot practice Restorative Yoga at home. Throw blankets, beach towels, throw pillows, and bed pillows can all be used for propping and everyone has a few of these laying around. You can check out my at home prop YouTube videos for more details.
Making a Restorative Bolster from home supplies: http://bit.ly/2n7ktmn
Blanket/beach towel folding 101: http://bit.ly/2lx5xSr
For more information on what Restorative does you can watch this Principles of Restorative Yoga intro and feel free to check out my Restorative Yoga practices on YouTube as well at http://bit.ly/TheYogaRangerStudio. I will be adding a new series called "Short & Sweet" to my YouTube channel that will include 10-15 minute Restorative "breaks". Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and check that notifications are on so you are alerted when new videos come up!