Restorative Yoga: Is the Practice Right for You?
Yoga classes all have a few things in common. As you participate, in a yoga class you’ll move through a series of poses ("asanas"). The asanas improve circulation, strength, flexibility, and overall health and well-being. There’s also a calming aspect to yoga classes. Often these calming moments are found at the end of class during the final relaxation, aka, the best part of class.
What makes restorative yoga different?
With a restorative yoga class, the entire class is about calming. It takes those few final relaxation moments in a other yoga classes to the next level. Restorative yoga is focused on centering your breath and body and allowing you to relax as restore (hence the name) your energy and wellness.
You’ll work on aligning both the mind and body by practicing stillness or gentle movement for extended periods of time. Restorative yoga uses a number of props including blankets, bolsters, pillows, and more.
Deciding if restorative yoga is right for you
Restorative yoga is a very specific type of yoga with unique benefits. As you try to decide if it's a type of yoga you should try, there are a few questions and considerations to make.
Are you fatigued?
If you find that you’re constantly tired and low on energy, then restorative yoga may be exactly what you need. Many people find that they sleep wonderfully after a restorative yoga class. It's also a great compliment to your other workouts, and it's a perfect option for your rest days.
Are you dealing with chronic stress?
Chronic stress can eventually cause disease and other health issues. It is a cause of depression and it can lead to a weakened immune system. When you take a restorative yoga class, it puts you in control of your breathing and muscle tension. You pay attention to every breath that you take and how your muscles and body feel. This focus actually induces a state of calm and has been shown to reduce illness.
Restorative yoga has also been shown to help people recover from illness and injury as well as traumatic events. A regular and consistent restorative yoga practice can also help you improve your body’s response to stress.
Do you need your body to be challenged?
With restorative yoga, your body will probably not be challenged. In fact, the point of restorative yoga is surrender, where you let the tension out of your body. You won’t hold strenuous asanas for a long period of time (or at all). However, you can be sure that your mind will be challenged. You’ll learn to focus and relax, and you’ll learn how to get yourself to the point of feeling rested and renewed.
Is restorative yoga right for you? If you’re like most of the population and you’re dealing with chronic stress, then the answer is yes. It can improve your energy, your health, and your mental well-being. There’s really only one way to know for sure. Give restorative yoga a try. I'm betting you'll be hooked.
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