Restoration of mind and body through deep relaxation (using props)
Restorative Yoga was developed in the 1970s by Judith Hanson Lasater. She was a student of B.K.S. Iyengar (1918-2014), who was considered one of the foremost yoga instructors in the world. Lasater took notice of how Iyengar used props to help yogis reach the exact alignment and ease into a posture.
She developed the use of props to help her students relax in the postures and reach a relaxation deep enough to profoundly affect the body and mind.
Deep relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the system that tells the body that it is safe and can focus on restoration. It is with the help of this stimulation that Restorative Yoga reaches its goal of counteracting the physical and mental effects of everyday stress. Restorative Yoga helps to reduce stress, it can also help diminish stress symptoms such as headaches, backaches, anxiety, and insomnia.
In order to reach deep relaxation and allow the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, the postures must be held for quite some time. Therefore, a class in Restorative Yoga typically encompasses a few postures. Each one is held for five minutes up to as long as thirty minutes. You should hold the posture until you feel satisfied with it and reach the feeling of melting or merging with the posture. This is why props are such a central part of Restorative Yoga: if you feel the slightest discomfort, you will not reach that merging sensation. Because of this, you should spend some time getting into the posture and using props to feel completely comfortable. When you are, you should focus on your breathing and be mindfully present in the here-and-now.
Considering the high tempo of modern life, this can be hard to do. Because of the mental adjustment needed in Restorative Yoga, some even consider it the most advanced of all yoga styles. Specifically, because of this adjustment, Restorative Yoga is a great complement to more active yoga styles and a way to rejuvenate and renew body and mind.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
· Creates stillness in body and mind
· Significantly reduces stress
· Offers deep relaxation
· Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing for recuperation
· Revitalizes the tissues of the body
· Increases the ability to be present in the moment
· Teaches us to let ourselves go completely