Restore Yourself with Restorative Yoga
Today I would like to introduce you to one of yoga’s sweet gifts to the world: the style of restorative yoga.
One can think of a restorative practice as the sweet reward for a busy life well lived. Restorative yoga is like a magic elixir that has the power to help lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, reduce hypertension and lower triglyceride levels. It is a beautiful compliment to an active yoga practice, and has the power to relax the inner environment so deeply, that the body and mind will naturally feel refreshed throughout the most active of days. What can you expect in a class?
Props, and lots of them!
Restorative yoga holds your body in the yoga posture, so you don’t have to. It creates the beneficial shapes that are required of a yoga pose, while having you do little to no work.
A cozy warm room
Excessive heat or cold will stimulate the brain to elevate or reduce body temperature. Comfortably warm skin will activate the parts of the brain necessary to assist your body into deep relaxation.
A quiet environment
Each teacher will offer a different sound modality as you rest. Some will play calming music or share inspirational readings, while others may keep the room absolutely silent.
An eye pillow
A dimly lit room will reduce stimulating nerve impulses, and very light pressure around the bones of the eyes will offer sensory input that relaxes the heart beat. A small, folded hand towel over the forehead and the eyes works very well if an eye pillow is not available to you.
Yoga postures that are held from 5-20 minutes
Chemical reactions occur in the body the longer you stay in a posture. While remaining for a minimum of 15 minutes begins to break down stress hormones, some teachers prefer to hold postures for 5-10 minutes.
A comfortable body
It might take a few minutes to adjust the props to feel comfortable in your body. Restorative yoga postures require no muscle contraction whatsoever. Be patient, and take your time getting settled. Give yourself time to get familiar with the sensation of resting on yoga props, and do your best to eliminate minor annoyances when setting up your pose. The goal is to be as physically comfortable as possible.
Check the local yoga directory for the studio nearest you, and ask if they offer any restorative yoga classes. Wishing you a relaxing journey.
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