I LOVE teaching the practice of Restorative Yoga. But I admit that when people ask me what sort of a class it is I sometimes struggle in explaining it. Particularly when people are familiar with the more active forms of yoga. “Are we meditating or doing yoga?” they’ll say or “Is it *just* a relaxation class?” as if spending time relaxing is of no value!
Well Restorative Yoga is a little of all of these. It is a receptive practice where the body is supported using props into “shapes” similar to poses practised in other yoga classes. The emphasis is on comfort and allowing the body to completely “let go”. Poses are typically held for 5 - 10 minutes, sometimes with the Teacher guiding a meditation, sometimes in silence. It may sound easy but
a lot of people find the hardest practice of all is simply being still. We spend so much of our day under stress that learning the art of relaxation can be very challenging. And even if the body is resting at peace it doesn’t mean that the mind will naturally follow! This is what yoga is all about, gently and kindly acknowledging when the mind is wandering and inviting it to return to where you want it. And practising this again and again.
The benefits of deep relaxation and meditation are well researched. To name a few they include improved immunity, support of recovery from illness and injury, release of stress and help with memory and concentration. Restorative Yoga lays the foundations for these beautiful benefits to blossom.
This was really brought home to me during my intensive Restorative teacher training course. At the time I was still nursing my youngest child through the night. I was severely sleep deprived and stressed just trying to get out the door on time, let alone concentrating through the very long training days. Every morning I would sit in a fog of fatigue, feeling head achy and unmotivated. After one hour of Restorative Yoga however, I literally felt the tiredness drain out and my energy levels lift. It was magical. Yet it was all coming from within. My body and mind being given the chance to come into balance, talk to each other and restore.
I really hope that this whets your appetite for trying a class. I recommend coming to at least 2 or 3 so that you get used to moving the props around, before deciding if it’s for you. And the next time you hear someone say “Stop the world I want to get off!”, tell them Restorative Yoga is the nearest thing they’ll get!
Love and Light