Monday, February 21, 2011

Restorative Yoga

Hi everyone! As the teacher of Restorative yoga every Sunday, I just wanted to give Restorative a shout-out on the Vibe Yoga blog!

Why make the time for Restorative Yoga?

Our personal well-being can suffer if we don't take time for relaxation. A stress reaction is a very physiological, as well as psychological, result of our interpretation of the world. Dislike for a boss, anger at a friend, being too overwhelmed with this or that to get enough sleep creates stress reactions. These are commonly known stressors, but they can actually be categorized as distress, or bad stress. The same harmful stress reactions occur with eustress, or good stress. A new relationship, planning a wedding, or preparing for a new baby also create stress reactions in our bodies and minds.

Regardless of type, any stress can take a toll on each and every one of us as we move through our day-to-day lives. Judith Lasater, author of Relax and Renew states that "a life lived on overload affects health, sexual function, reproduction, relationships, job performance, athletic performance, and most important, one's sense of self."

Don't worry, there is a simple solution to creating a more well-rounded well being: Relaxation! Relaxation is the antidote to stress reactions. As I hinted at earlier, the mind and body are very connected. Stress in one creates stress in the other, thus, relaxing one will, in turn, help relax the other. I think this is the premise of Restorative yoga, and this is how I teach each Sunday evening: as a relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal for mind and body.

What can I expect?

In each of my Restorative classes, I strive to create an atmosphere of peace: low, relaxing music, candlelight, and tons of props! I usually start with some simple, gentle movements—some spinal stretching and twisting, one downward dog, some lengthening of normally tight muscles. I like to do this to work out the restlessness, fidgety-ness, and busy-ness of our bodies, to warm the muscles and create space in the body to prepare for relaxation. Then we can settle in.

There are a handful of key Restorative poses. I try to mix these up a little, but there is so much benefit in them already. I figure, why reinvent the wheel? In these poses, which we stay in for 5-10 minutes each, props are used to provide comfort and support. Props include blankets, to bolsters blocks, to straps.

What is Restorative yoga?

Yoga is and has always been about more than asanas. Yoga is used in India to prepare the body for meditation, so one can meditate without distraction, without the nagging neck stiffness or restlessness legs. What about preparing the mind for relaxation? Every one of us has a mind that can run rampant if allowed, thinking of this, worrying about that, regretting this, thinking "I need to do" that. It's exhausting! Yoga itself is about stilling the mind to bring rest. Rest is different than sleep. Being able to rest quietly in the present moment is the ultimate goal of Restorative yoga.

With time and practice, you will be rewarded with the ability to drop with ease into a place of deep contentment—both on and off your mat.

I am committed to help you along in your process of relaxation training and exploration of mind and body relaxation, renewal, and rejuvenation in Restorative yoga. I am ALWAYS open to feedback to improve my class for you, so feel free to let me know what you do like, don't like, and want more of!

See you all on Sunday!

Best and Namaste,