|Tracey performing Reiki during a Restorative Yoga posture|
Fort hose of you that do not know what Restorative Yoga is, basically yoga postures are performed using props. Bolsters, blocks, straps, blankets and more are brought and tucked under the body in various places (knees, belly, etc.) in order to hold the student, comfortably, in the posture. The ideas it to breathe deeply and allow your body to completely relax, and thusly, restore.
The challenge of this type of practices are many:
1. The mind clearly has a lot of room to move about when we are still. We have to focus deeply in order to bring the mind to the breath and the moment. It is a constant struggle, but we keep at it, watching and allowing thoughts, then letting them go.
2. We are tense people, so laying "comfortably" in postures is not easy! This is where we find our deep held tensions in the tissues. By breathing and focusing, we continue to release. At first, this can be quite uncomfortable. Thus the many props we keep sticking here or there in order to allow the body to release. Certain postures are going to be quite challenging to find that area in which to release into for deeper letting go. It can take sometimes up to five minutes to find that comfort zone. And then once you start breathing and releasing, you may find that you need to remove some props too!
3. There is no comparison, judgements or competition allowed because you simply cannot do what your neighbor is doing in these asanas. Every body is different so the props and how they are used will change for each person. It forces us to go within, and to deal with the many inner workings of our own being.
Much research has been and continues to be done on the benefits of restorative yoga. Amongst the many benefits that have been concluded are:
Improvement in mood, depression, anxiety and sleep.
According to Breast Cancer.org: Restorative yoga poses are especially beneficial during times of feeling depleted and fatigued – support offered by props relieves the musculoskeletal system and as the breath moves slowly and smoothly, the nervous system shifts to a quieter mode. Since props are mobile and adjustable, and poses themselves can be modified, restorative yoga is well-suited to accommodate those at risk for lymphedema. If you are recovering from surgery, restorative poses can provide gentle, passive stretching to help release muscles and reduce tissue adhesions.
The Spinal Research Foundation notes two benefits for back pain and chronic pain in general: Yoga helps to build postural stability by both strengthening and lengthening the muscles that support the spine. By developing strength and flexibility, you can put yourself in a better position to avoid back pain. The second benefit comes from the physical and mental relaxation practiced during restorative yoga. When you learn to calm your mind and relax your body, there is an almost immediate response from the nervous system and that promotes the body’s own healing and repair. Will it reverse all your chronic pain? Unfortunately it’s not magic, but your day to day discomfort may be significantly reduced.
And there are so many more studies and benefits of this particular practice.
Yogis who practice vinyasa or strong hatha based types of yoga, which are more yang or solar/masculine energies, can benefit from Restorative because it is the yin/feminine quality. Those who do not have a yoga practice or suffer from injury will find Restorative quite helpful in coming into the body and integrating it back to wholeness.
But everyone can benefit from this practice in today's world. We are all constantly plugged in. Whether it is addiction to your cell phones or being overworked or over scheduled, we are constantly "on" in some way in our lives. Few people take the time to unplug and go off into nature or relax and unwind on a daily basis, away from the constant stimuli of our world. Many people think of relaxation as sitting in front of the TV for a few hours at night. But, again, we are not giving our brain that necessary reboot time.
No, everyone can benefit from a Restorative Yoga practice in these days where energy is accelerated and we seem to be cramming more and more into our days.
Give yourself the gift of RESTORING your body, mind and soul with a lovely, relaxing practice.
Join us for a one-hour Restorative with Reiki (energy work to enhance your overall vitality) on Tuesdays at 6pm and Thursdays at 4:30 pm.
Check our ongoing schedule at www.oneyogacenter.net to confirm times/days.