Restorative Yoga Approach
A style of yoga that offers a gentler more low-key approach is Restorative Yoga. This form of yoga is relaxing while also providing health benefits l such as stress management, muscle relaxation, and better sleep quality. This practice is a highly relaxing more meditative form of yoga that emphasizes long deep stretching. The slow gentle pace of this practice makes it a great option for anyone that may be unable to participate in more traditional forms of yoga or for someone simply wanting to slow down. Props such as bolsters, pillows, blankets, straps, and blocks are used to provide full support of the body during a pose. This ensures that you do not experience any muscle strain but rather are able to fully relax into each pose.
How it Started
A different approach to yoga came about when B.K.S. Lyengar came upon the need for a form of yoga that was suitable for injury recovery as well as facilitating limited mobility. He began working on a yoga practice that would alleviate any strain on the body while providing the opportunity for deep stretching, breathwork, and meditation. This practice deviates from the more traditional forms of yoga that move from pose to pose after a short holding period. In restorative yoga, you may be holding a single pose for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. The long holds provide a chance for a deeper meditative practice. Rather than being challenged physically, you will likely find meditation to be your biggest challenge.
How it Helps
You will find that the deeper relaxed stretches of this practice may help to relieve stress and release tension throughout your muscles. After consistent practice, flexibility will begin to increase and you may find yourself more aware of your body. Restorative yoga also provides great benefits for mental health. The time spent learning to be still and meditate may help with stress release and managing anxiety. You will likely feel calmer throughout the day and experience better sleep. Restorative yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system which allows us to relax. This part of the nervous system brings balance back to our breath and heart rate. This practice serves as a wonderful opportunity to restore depleted, recovering, or stressed bodies.
Restorative yoga classes may be accessed in many ways. You may be able to find an instructor in your city. However, many places now offer virtual class options as well. To get started you will need a yoga mat, blankets, and pillows. You may find that other props are also needed depending on the class you attend. The goal is to have as many props as necessary to support your body during a pose. Relaxation is a must!
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