Sunday, January 25, 2015

Restorative Yoga - why it is an essential part of yoga practice

Article first published in the Yoga Spirit Studios newsletter on 1 March 2012

Our modern life is full of stresses, and our mind and spirit steadily become more wound up. I have noticed a trend these days towards a market place demand for more and more power yoga - yoga done fast and furious, working up a sweat, as if yoga were just another aerobic exercise regime.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a regular aerobic workout to get the heart pumping and to build fitness. In fact it is highly recommended for most people. However, to me the practice of yoga is so much more; it offers an opportunity to move out of the stress response and into a more wholesome relationship with myself and the world. It also opens and stretches the body, but for that the practice needs to slow down a bit.

Restorative yoga really comes into its own in this regard. Practiced with the assistance of props to allow the body to slowly open in a long held position, restorative yoga switches the autonomic nervous system on to the parasympathetic - that aspect where we relax and de-stress.

At least one session of restorative practice is recommended per week in your yoga regime. More good news is that it is so wonderfully yummy that it is easy to love, and it can be practised by beginners as easily as more advanced students.

It is also a very good idea to become familiar with restorative practice so that at times of stress or ill health in our lives, we have the tools to turn to for powerful help and healing.

Having blankets, bolsters and other props at home so that you can practise there is a very good idea, but to learn the art of restorative practice it is advised to join a master teacher in restorative work. At Yoga Spirit Studios we are blessed at Yoga Spirit to have Vanessa teaching this beautiful healing yoga every Wednesday evening at 7.30 pm in the studio room. If you haven't tried it yet, please treat yourself to a regular class with her and learn how to really take care of yourself. And once a quarter you can join a longer, two hour practice at our Big Relax.

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