Restorative Yoga

October 10, 2020

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Photo Courtesy: Yoga Medicine

Exercise for Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

When you think of yoga, I’m sure you may start to think of crazy poses that seem almost impossible, trying to keep track of your breathing, and wondering if you are even doing the poses correctly. Although there are many known health benefits (physically and emotionally) associated with yoga, this practice can sometimes induce stress for those who are new to the practice. If you are one of those who finds yourself stressed out at the regular yoga classes, but still want to get into the practice; look no further! There may be one style of yoga that you may be interested in trying, Restorative Yoga.

Restorative Yoga is a style of yoga that attempts to focus more on the “emotional” aspects of the practice; relaxing the mind to achieve a deep meditative state. To reach this level of relaxation, the body is held in certain positions for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. These aren’t back bends or handstands though, these poses involve the use of blankets, blocks, and pillows to support the body. Once you are in the pose and supported in the ways that you feel most comfortable, your focus begins to shift to slowing down your breathing and letting your thoughts slip away. 

Though this may seem daunting at first, this practice is incredibly relaxing. I remember feeling so nervous for my first restorative yoga class, I thought to myself, “How am I supposed to stay still in one position for 15 minutes?”. Once I got into my first position, I felt like I was completely weightless and floating in a cloud. I was instructed to focus on my breath and acknowledge my passing thoughts, but not to dwell on them. After what seemed like 30 seconds passing, the instructor informed us to switch positions and that the first position was held for 10 minutes! After my experience with restorative yoga, I find it most beneficial to practice when I am feeling emotionally overwhelmed, drained, and stressed. Although it will not make all of your problems go away, restorative yoga can allow you to escape reality for a few moments of peace.  

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