The Beauty and Benefits of Restorative Yoga
By Dana Costantino
There are many different forms of yoga and many ways to practice. While some will practice everyday with an intensity about how they focus, others may choose to make yoga a more occasional habit or something done every so often. No matter how one chooses to move forward in practice, restorative yoga is something that benefits all. A restorative session takes the practitioner back to the meditative place of yoga. It will help to align the breath and the heart and to relax and care for the parts of the body that are worked throughout a more vigorous yoga practice.
We all need time to reset, recharge and realign. It is important to come back to the foundations and to set our physical body in line with our mental and spiritual body. Regardless of why a person is drawn to continuing, deepening or beginning a yoga practice, there is no doubt that whatever the motivation, restorative yoga is a benefit.
The key elements of a restorative yoga practice are unlike other types of yoga as the restorative yoga practice is one in which poses are held for an extended period, about five minutes. Restorative yoga tends to use props such as blankets, blocks and bolsters. Using these props helps to support the body while allowing the practitioner to deepen the pose and more fully relax. Coming to a place of calm is essential within the restorative practice.
It is often said that the three main tenants of restorative yoga are observation, support and compassion. Those are takeaways that we can apply into our daily life as well. Restorative yoga can not only help to balance us in our own personal yoga practice, but it can help with how we move through our day-to-day life. It can help to shift thought processes into a more positive and stable way of thinking and being.
It is important to begin a restorative session knowing that it is a time to relax, to be mindful, and to let go—not just of thoughts that weigh us down, but of emotions or feelings that keep us from being our best selves. Restorative yoga is a space for each person to find the best version of themselves and to channel a new style of positive energy.
Those ready to give restorative yoga a try can start by adding a restorative class once every other week. As our yoga practice progresses or if it is already an advanced practice, we can then consider committing to a weekly restorative yoga class.
Namaste and best of luck on the journey to peace.
Dana Costantino is wellness director for Natural Awakenings New York and certified to teach yoga, meditation and aromatherapy. Reach her at [email protected]m.