Slow down and restore your body and mind this winter with the many benefits of restorative yoga…
While there are numerous types of yoga, one favorite – especially during the busy holiday season and quiet winter months – is restorative yoga. This type of yoga focuses more on healing and rejuvenation rather than physical strength and flexibility (although these are almost always “side effects” of just about any type of yoga). There are many benefits of restorative yoga that can be especially helpful in times of stress, overwhelm, or simply when you’re feeling low-energy and in need of some self-care.
A restorative yoga practice often involves various yoga props such as yoga blocks and bolsters to provide support during prolonged poses and promote relaxation. If you don’t have these props available, you can often substitute pillows and folded blankets. Or you can also find many restorative yoga classes that don’t require any props.
Below are 6 reasons why restorative yoga is so unique and beneficial. While other types of yoga may also offer many of these benefits as well, these are some of the defining benefits of restorative yoga.
1.) Slows Down the Pace of Life
Restorative yoga is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from the frenetic activity of daily life and let your speedometer return to 0 mph. It offers a welcome respite among all the turbulence of life and helps to prepare the mind and body for the inward stroke of meditation and deepened awareness. Moving slowly through the poses allows you to explore your mind and body at a steady and natural tempo.
2.) Soothing to the Nervous System
The slower pace and deep breathing that you get in a restorative yoga class trigger the parasympathetic nervous system from the very first pose. This activation helps to mitigate the effects of the regular fight-or-flight stress response that can be damaging to your physiology and well-being. The overall calming effect on the nervous system sets a deeply relaxing tone for the class that comforts your mind and body down to the cellular level.
3.) Encourages Mindfulness
Restorative yoga could just as easily be called “mindful yoga” due to the expanded awareness of self and body that comes through the practice. Slower movements cultivate space for a deeper experience of the poses and the breath. Awareness of the physical sensations, the thoughts or emotions that arise, or sounds in the environment, can all take on a much more profound significance in the depth of the restorative practice. Simply put, you’re able to notice and feel more of the world through your yoga experience.
4.) Cultivates Heightened Body Awareness
The comfortable pace of restorative yoga opens the doorway to a deeper understanding of your own body, letting you actually feel what it means to be a spiritual being having a human experience. Sadly, many people aren’t intimate with their own bodies. Through a restorative yoga practice, however, such intimacy can be explored and embraced. Deeper levels of bodily strengths can be integrated and owned and a more profound sense of self-love and acceptance can emerge.
5.) Deepens Self-Awareness and Introspection
The subdued quality of a restorative yoga class often helps you draw attention inward and away from external events and situations of the world. With your awareness directed within, the practice becomes a sanctuary for the mind and spirit from which you can take a deeper look at who you are, what you want, and how you can serve the world. Restorative yoga opens us up to new levels of self-exploration and contemplation, allowing your inner being to shine forth.
6.) Helps You Feel Safe and Nurtured
In daily life, it’s easy to get pulled into the insecurity that is a byproduct of the modern world. Many people move through their days haunted by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Restorative yoga provides you with a safe harbor wherein you can reconnect with your true nature, which is immortal, invincible, pure, and nourishing. Making that connection through your poses, breathing, and deep relaxation restores the memory of who you are and helps you to reclaim the fearless nature of your soul. From this refuge, you emerge feeling secure in the inherent goodness within your heart and in the world.
Find more benefits of restorative yoga at Chopra.com…