Skip to main content

Finding Balance with Restorative Yoga


It’s quite typical to spend your weeks and even your weekends, rushing about trying to get loads of things done and feeling utterly exhausted at the end of it all.  Even our exercise routines can be so fast-paced that they place added stress upon our bodies.  Restorative Yoga gives you an antidote to this fast-paced way of living and encourages you to slow down, rest and recharge.

What is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative Yoga is about working with your parasympathetic nervous system.  This is the nervous system responsible for, amongst other things, slowing the heart rate, digestion, conserving energy and allowing the body to recharge.  Its role is the complete opposite of the sympathetic nervous system (our ‘flight or fight’ response), which is a state that many of us find ourselves constantly dwelling in, whether due to work or lifestyle stresses.

Restorative Yoga is a practice designed to help reduce stress and anxiety, and to help promote relaxation, wellbeing and healing.  Unlike the more dynamic forms of yoga, Restorative Yoga keeps the body supported, relaxed, comfortable and warm.  It is derived from Iyengar Yoga and was developed by Judith Lasater, a student of Iyengar's, in the 1970s.

Props are used to support and relax the body and these include blankets, cushions, bolsters, eye pillows and even chairs and walls.  The body is held in a certain way so that the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxation response is invoked.  By taking the weight of stress off the body, the body can find its way back to a state of balance. Restorative poses are held for long periods of time in order to allow these changes to take place.

What Restorative Yoga is not…

Restorative Yoga is not about having a sleep, although you may find yourself drifting off from time to time!   

It is also not the same as Yin Yoga.  Yin Yoga is about experiencing a deep stretch and there is is no dynamic movement or stretching involved with Restorative Yoga.

Restorative Yoga is also not a from of meditation practice.  Whilst in the poses, you should remain aware of your body and its place in the surroundings without trying to control your mind or thoughts.  The mind should be allowed to relax (and possibly wander), so don't worry if you get some random thoughts popping into your head during the practice!

Finding a Teacher

Not all yoga teachers are qualified as Restorative Yoga teachers.  From my own experience, Restorative Teacher training is very different in style to Hatha Yoga teaching and therefore, requires a somewhat different skill set.


In addition to my Hatha Yoga Teaching and Therapy qualifications, I hold a certificate in Restorative Yoga 50 hour Immersion Training with Whitespace Yoga Studio.  I am a member of the Independent Yoga Network, the Sports Therapy Association and am on the Register of Exercise Professionals.  I also have a PGCE and taught in schools for 12 years.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The one thing you need to do to revolutionise your day

I'm self-employed so through necessity, I have to fit a lot into my daily routine. This includes time physically spent at work or teaching, time at home doing the admin side of my business - social media, accounts etc, time for myself, including working out, spending time with my friends, family and pets, and time for those boring but necessary daily chores. This does sound like I have a lot of plates spinning and in all honesty, I do, but it's just what works for me. Now, I'm not writing this post because I want to suggest I am some kind of superwoman (really, I'm far from it), but because people ask me how I manage it all and I wanted to share my secret for finding a good work/life balance... LISTS! Ok it's not that exciting or innovative but stick with me on this... I write a weekly to-do list, as I'm sure loads of you do too.  I start with the things I absolutely have to do that week. If things are time sensitive, i.e. I need to pay that invoic

The one thing they don't warn you about when you start yoga...

Ok so when you start yoga, people are ready to tell you all the positives - that it'll change your life, that you'll become more flexible/stronger/balanced - and all the negatives - there *may* be involuntary passing of gas, you might fall over when you try and balance, people might see your pants through your leggings - etc. etc. etc.  However, what they fail to mention is that probably the hardest thing to do is actually to pluck up the courage, book a class and walk through the doors. In a world where we spend copious amounts of our day to day life behind a computer screen, going out into the 'real' world and interacting with 'real' people is not always easy.  Especially if you're worried that those people are going to be toned gods and goddesses who weave their own clothes from yak's milk and discuss in great detail how to power up their root chakras.  Yes, yoga is a spiritual practice and to be honest, it is one of my bugbears when people just