“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln
Sourced from: RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE by Gail Boorstein Grossman
Have you heard of restorative yoga? Restorative yoga is a deeply relaxing style of yoga, not an active practice. We often forget that sometimes we need to just take time to relax. If you think there is no way you can relax, you need restorative yoga more than you know. I practiced restorative yoga while at Heartwood teacher training and felt as if I was floating when the practice was over. I spent most of my life physically exerting myself in bootcamp classes and sports training. I naturally wanted my yoga practice to be physical as well. I typically did vinyasa flows and ashtanga style yoga practices, which are both very physical practices. Heartwood teacher training allowed me to experience so much more! I fell in love with restorative yoga and can't wait to teach others how to find comfort in restorative yoga.
Poses are held for 5 minutes to as long as twenty minutes. During this time you are held in “shapes” while being supported with blankets, blocks and bolsters. When you practice this type of yoga you enter a state of deep relaxation. It is here you can “let go” of those deep holding patterns in your body and find a state of balance that will allow your body to heal.
Even if yoga is not your usual thing, restorative yoga is a great addition to your physical well-being. Many of us do not take the time to restore our muscles; we just work them until one day they tell you where to go! Practicing restorative yoga can keep you from injuring yourself. It is a great way to loosen the muscles that get tight from overuse.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Prevents disease- It is incredibly beneficial, because the poses lower cortisol levels in the system. When cortisol lowers, blood pressure levels likewise lower, as well as glucose levels helping prevent diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Restores you after surgery- Because restorative yoga is restful, you can regain energy when you practice it, which will help you heal.
Helps relieve cold and flu symptoms- You can heal faster when you are well rested, which is one of the benefits of restorative yoga, and there are also poses that help relieve sinus pressure, increase circulation, and help you breathe more easily.
Provides headache relief- Headaches can be caused by tension or a pinched nerve near the spine.
Provides relief from carpal tunnel syndrome-you learn to realign the body so that you can carry yourself in a way that eases tension in the wrists. A simple shift of alignment can make a big difference
Helps reduce obesity- Studies have shown that restorative yoga reduces the level of cortisol in your system. If you have excessive body fat, restorative yoga makes a very nice adjunct to a more active yoga practice. When cortisol production in the body is lowered, the amount of glucose being created in the body is likewise decreased. Glucose creates fat, especially belly fat, which can lead to other diseases as well.
Gives you more energy- Most people are sleep deprived, and try to make up for it by drinking caffeinated beverages, which in turn keeps them from being able to sleep, and so on. When you practice restorative yoga you relax the nervous system and create a state of rest in the body, without actually sleeping. A simple pose like legs up the wall for twenty minutes can make all the difference.