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What is Restorative Yoga?

What is Restorative Yoga?

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Mary Oliver

When the pace of life is fast, our minds move fast, too. We can easily overstimulate ourselves and our nervous system takes the beating. We may end up feeling easily overwhelmed, tired, with a racing mind. We get sick quicker and more often.

Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that seeks to achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation with the aid of props. Props such as bolsters, blankets, chairs, and blocks make it easier to maintain balance, be fully supported, and relax completely. Poses are held for five to ten minutes giving  time to settle into complete relaxation. As we relax, tension and tightness melt away.

The beauty of restorative Yoga is that there is no muscular contraction involved. We believe we have to “work” to increase flexibility, but often we achieve more opening in parts of the body that we perceive as tight by softening and relaxing than through an active posture practice. During a restorative Yoga sequence you still stretch, but you relax fully in the stretch, so that tension can slowly be released.

Because the body and mind relax, literally becoming softer, we also create space to get in touch again with our natural qualities of compassion and understanding of others and self.

Potential Restorative Yoga benefits are: enhanced flexibility, deep relaxation, improved sleep, reduced anxiety and perceived stress, a balanced nervous system, improved capacity for healing, boosted immune system, and enhanced mood states.

AliKaukasDSC_9508Practicing Restorative Yoga balances a fast lifestyle and has an enormous capacity to heal physical and mental symptoms that are stress related – and as we know, many diseases these days are stress related.

Remember how you feel when you’ve been on vacation for awhile and you’ve had time to unwind and let go of the fast pace of life?

Remember that feeling of being truly relaxed? Feeling so at ease in your own skin that you hardly notice your physical body?

The true meaning of Yoga is to experience union. To unite the mind and the body.

Restorative Yoga allows you to take a vacation from daily pressures, unwind, and feel renewed, refreshed, and at peace with what is.

©Jo Kirsch, E-RYT 500, June, 2014

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