• Barbara Newman

Rest, Restore, Renew, Rejuvenate with Restorative Yoga

Living in a world where yoga is often practiced in modern dynamic styles, the ancient tradition of meditation may nearly be lost. Poses and breathing clear the mind, but meditation is the road to the inner self. There are times we simply need to surrender and let go. Meditation may lead us to a rejuvenated, clearer, lighter, heart-centered Self.

Imagine a yoga practice where you reconnect to your true nature through poses, breathing, and deep relaxation. This happens in restorative yoga where a pose is held for a longer time with the help of props, such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, and rice bags. Props are adjusted to provide the most balance and comfort for each individual. Every joint is supported. We surrender our tension and keep relaxing and softening throughout the practice.

Deep relaxation encourages fuller breathing at a cellular level as oxygen and nutrients are carried to cells. When breathing is shallow, cells don't receive the oxygen they need to be productive. When we breathe fully, we give our cells the gift of well-being.

The goal of restorative yoga is to deliberately slow us down and find optimal comfort and ease. The parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for resting and digestion, is activated. Restored easy breathing, lower blood pressure and heart rates, and relaxation bring balance. There is increased energy flow. This affects us physically, energetically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Benefits of Restorative Yoga:

Deeply relaxes the body

Quiets the mind

Balances the nervous system

Boosts the immune system

Elevates the mood

Promotes healing

Restorative Yoga stems from yoga that was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar who used props and modifications, so students could practice without pain or strain. Judith Lasater, a student of Iyengar, continued to spread the practice of restorative yoga.

Restorative yoga moves us closer to the ancient yoga philosophy of the "Limbs of yoga," which gives guidance on how to live a purposeful life. The postures/asana are interwoven with breath/pranayama, balancing the senses/pratyahara, concentration/dharana, meditation/dhyana and self-realization/samadhi.

Restorative poses may be included in an active yoga practice, or classes may completely be devoted to restorative yoga. Let the beauty of restorative yoga poses return you to yourSelf. When you rise up to re-enter the world, your smile reflects peace in your heart.

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