Restorative yoga: practice and benefits
by Denise Marlow
Restorative yoga encourages us to slow down as we open the body in passive stretches. Each pose is held for 5 minutes upwards with the use of props to help you relax.
Restorative yoga promotes the relaxation response activating the parasympathetic nervous system – lowering heart rate and blood pressure, decreasing respiratory rate and promoting digestion – this allows the body to rest and rejuvenate.
In restorative yoga we still stretch but relax fully into the stretch so tension can slowly be released to: enhance flexibility, relax the body, balance the nervous system, boost immune system, develop self-awareness, encourage mindfulness.
When the pace of life is fast, our minds are fast too. When we are attracted to strong and/or fast-paced yoga we can easily over-stimulate ourselves – our nervous system takes a beating and we can feel tired, overwhelmed with a racing mind. Restorative yoga can balance the body so we get the most from the dynamic practices we love and enjoy.
“Restorative yoga seeks to achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation and balance through musculoskeletal and emotional release. It is the perfect antidote to stress in our modern, achievement-orientated and performance-driven culture, where people typically overwork and under-sleep, multitasking their way through the day….[with] life lived on overload and high anxiety”, (Source : The Yoga Academy).
Passive yoga practices continue to grow in popularity, to the extent that forward-thinking voices in the medical community are advocating the art of relaxation as a form of preventative medicine.
We currently run monthly restorative yoga classes at the studio, open to all levels of experience.