An Introduction to Restorative Yoga

As most of us are still in our homes, waiting for regulations to lower, there has been no better time to take a deep breath and do some stretching. As you read this, relax your jaw, release the tension in your shoulders, and slowly turn your head side to side. If that felt good and helped you relax a bit, it might be a good idea to start thinking about doing some yoga while at home. Restorative yoga, in particular, is all about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching.

Restorative yoga is a different experience than most contemporary yoga. Rather than being a more active practice to increase strength and flexibility, the long holds of restorative yoga allow your muscle to relax deeply. Instead of relying on your muscles, props are used extensively to support your body so you can hold poses for longer periods of time by eliminating unnecessary straining.

While stuck inside, restorative yoga is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from your daily life and turn inward. Known as “mindful yoga”, restorative yoga offers you an expanded awareness of your mind and body. Slower movements cultivate space for a deeper experience of the poses and your breath. Awareness of the physical sensations, the thoughts or emotions that arise, or sounds in your environment, can all become more profoundly significant within the depth of your restorative practice.

The comfortable pace of restorative yoga opens the doorway to a deeper understanding of your own body, letting you really feel what it means to be a spiritual soul having a human experience. Sadly, many of us aren’t fully aware of our own bodies. Through a restorative yoga practice, however, such awareness may be explored and embraced.

There was a clinical research study in 2014 to try and determine if there were benefits to women with breast cancer doing restorative yoga. The study found that through a restorative practice, cancer patients also saw an improvement in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain. Other research has shown that cancer survivors have been able to decrease depression through restorative yoga as well. If you find yourself suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially during this Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, restorative yoga could help you ease that suffering.

Restorative yoga can be a wonderful way to soothe stress and relax into long, meditative stretches. Consider doing some of the basic poses that we’ve shown you in our video above. Have patience and appreciate the stillness of your body and mind. While it takes some time to get used to, it will become easier and you’ll be amazed at your improvements.

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