If you always bypass the stockpile of props in your yoga studio, reverse and grab blankets, blocks, bolsters, straps, eye pillows and start a restorative practice today. Do it at home with a few cushions, pillows, a belt, towels and blankets. Restorative Yoga involves holding well supported and comfortable poses for 5 to 10 minutes. Make yourself cosy and make each pose as easy as possible. It is also the perfect practice when you don't have the energy for an energetic flow but want all the benefits of a yoga practice. Rest, relax and let go.
Reasons to start restorative yoga today:
1. Anyone can do it
Restorative yoga is accessible to everyone. The body is fully supported throughout this practice. You can make every pose work for you regardless of fitness, age, strength or flexibility. You can even do it in bed!
2. Rest and digest
Restorative yoga gives the body time to calm down, slow down, and rest. This deeply relaxing practice stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for rest and digestion. We spend most of our day in 'fight or fight mode' governed by the sympathetic nervous system. This practice is the perfect anti-dote to a busy lifestyle.
3. Quiet the mind
Endless to-do lists and multi-tasking means we are rarely in the moment. We can feel like we are running just to stand still. Restorative yoga provides constructive rest and quiet time for the mind. A regular practice can reduce anxiety, alleviate stress, and improve the quality of sleep.
4. Learn to let go
Relaxing can be challenging for most of us. We often rely on outside stimuli to help us relax - alcohol, food, exercise or TV. Practicing restorative yoga teaches us how to relax without a crutch. It is valuable skill to learn. Knowing how to relax is the key to finding balance on and of the mat.
5. Improve flexibility
If you practice more energetic styles of yoga or have a more active lifestyle, flexibility can often elude those with a strong more muscular physique. A restorative yoga practice is the perfect compliment to more dynamic styles of yoga or exercise in general. Allowing the body to release and let go has a hugely positive effect on flexibility. It also offers flexibility for the mind as it encourages us to shift our outlook from a 'no pain no gain' mentality to a more open, calm and receptive mentality. This can be a powerful meditative practice in itself.
6. Prevent and rehabilitate injury
Daily physical activity can result in micro tears in muscle tissue. Studies have shown that restorative yoga is more effective than sleep at healing the body. For those who suffer from sports injuries or compression and pain from daily activities, restorative yoga is incredibly effect at healing existing and preventing future injury through myofacial release.
7. And it feels damn good!