Deep breath in. Slow sigh out. Body sinks to floor. Mind becomes decluttered.
I attended my first restorative yoga class during a high stress week. This passive practice has become a beautiful counter to my hectic life. Plus in this hot summer it is an excellent way to cool the body down. While it’s not always easy to relax one’s mind and body, the benefits are abundant.
Read on as Christine, a Yoga District teacher, highlights the principles and practices of Restorative Yoga.
If you’re wondering about Restorative Yoga then don’t be afraid to try it. Feel free to attend one of our Restorative Yoga classes and Christine’s upcoming workshop (listed in post).
Origin and Principles of Restorative Yoga
Supported Savasana (Supported Reclining Pose)
Relaxation is the antidote to stress!
Restorative Yoga, also known as the “Rest and Digest”, practice originated from the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. It brings deep relaxation and balance to both the mind and body. One of Iyengar’s senior teachers, Judith Lasater popularized Restorative Yoga in the U.S. calls it “an active relaxation.”
The comfort and needs of the individual are met with the use of props to support the body in relaxation poses. Along with the props’ support, Restorative Yoga also uses gravity to assist with relaxation and release of tension. Minimal light to darkness, silence, warmth, and natural or calming breathing are used to reduce excess stimuli and keep the muscles and mind tranquil.
Additional helpful info:
Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall)
This is a self-care practice that counters the chronic stress and fast-paced lifestyle of the modern day.
The supported poses and calming breathing provide deep restfulness that nourishes the organ systems of the body and activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (digestion). This balances our body’s “fight or flight” stress response that comes from the Sympathetic Nervous System.
Restorative Yoga gives time and space for ourselves, allowing us to just be, giving the body a chance to heal itself and the mind a time to settle through relaxation.
Restorative yoga classes are accessible for new and experienced yoga practitioners. They can be adapted for various conditions and injuries. A class typically consists of only a few postures. A little goes a long way!
Classes generally begin with grounding and breathing practices in a seated or reclined restorative pose. Then a slow transitions to each supported pose, held up to 15 minutes.
Props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, and straps are offered in different variations and can be adjusted in each pose as needed. The purpose is to find a comfortable position with the props. This will allow the body to release on its own with minimal or no effort. I often tell students, “You are not supposed to feel a stretch, but rather a sigh of release as if you can fall asleep in the pose.”
If you feel a pull or a stretch, the sensation will only intensify countering the active relaxation.
Come explore Restorative Yoga Class at Yoga District:
During this 2 hour workshop, your body and mind will cool and ease the from the intensity of the summer. Students will be guided through a series of gentle stretches and comfortable restorative poses. This will be combine with breathing practices, visualization, and meditation for the summer season. It is designed to lead the body to gently open and release into a deep relaxation. Hands-on healing and aromatherapy will be offered.
Join me and you might just fall in love with the Restorative Yoga!
The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
Check out the yoga teacher training »