Restorative yoga asks us to pause, reflect and rest. Just like other types of yoga, we are stretching, exploring range of motion, mindfully linking movement and breath – even strengthening. But unlike other disciplines, restorative yoga is mainly conducted low to the ground, on our backs, sides and bellies. We use breathing exercises, guided mediations and a hefty amount of props. We move slowly and hold poses longer.
When stretching occurs, it is usually because of a combination of prop-body placement and gravity. In order to experience this type of stretching, we must train our bodies to relax and release tension. The first several times you try, it becomes apparent that this is easier said than done. Over time – and practice – restorative yoga allows us to discover the individual relaxation methods that are most beneficial. We don’t strain or cause pain, instead we listen to the body, find a comfortable position, and then spend the next several minutes watching the body release – and helping where needed.
The result is often deep relaxation for the mind and improvements to the body that may come as a surprise to those of us embedded in our Western “no pain, no gain” culture.
Yes, sometimes the best course of action is to lie down and relax! So let’s dim the lights, put on some relaxing music, turn our attention inward, and restore together.
Want to learn more? Check out my latest blog posts about restorative yoga.