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Restorative Yoga

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What is Restorative Yoga?

Think active relaxation

Sounds like an oxymoron, no?

Restorative yoga is pure relaxation for the body and the mind. Through the use of props such as blankets, blocks, and bolsters, the body is completely supported to promote the relaxation response. The relaxation response is the a set of medically documented physiological changes that counter the body’s “Fight-or-Flight” mode. It is a deep state of physiological relaxation. Restorative yoga deepens the relaxation response and promotes mental calm. This has a myriad of benefits.

What are the benefits of the relaxation response and Restorative Yoga?

Research has shown that the relaxation response is highly effective at relieving symptoms of stress, anxiety, and insomnia; reducing inflammation; positively effecting hypertension, mild-to-moderate forms of depression, and various forms of pain; promoting healthy digestion, fertility, and immunity; and facilitating relaxation and restful sleep

Restorative yoga encourages a physiological state of deep relaxation, promotes mental calm, and reduces stress.

It’s like a reboot for your mind and body .

What if you could feel like you’d just woken up from the best sleep of your life?

Restorative yoga is amazing.

Imagine taking 1 hour to give yourself permission to let go. How many of us can say we had even a few moments of pure relaxation today?

Restorative yoga is powerful.

In our culture of overachievers, over-subscribers, and over-doers, nothing could be more important than reducing stress and relaxing.

Restorative yoga is different from the more active forms of yoga you may know. An active practice is described as a yang practice; restorative is described as a yin practice. Restorative is passive. Poses are held longer. It is about release. In restorative you use props to support your body in various poses. The physical support of the props allows your body to remain passive and release tension.

Your body has an autonomic nervous system (ANS) which has two modes: 1) Fight-or-Flight–to run away from the lion chasing you, and 2) Rest-and-Digest–to relax once the lion has left. We are designed to cycle between these two modes for optimum health and vitality. In olden times, once the lion was gone, we could relax and eat our food. In our modern times, the world encourages us to always be in “Fight-or-Flight” mode, always running, always going, always stressed. We live in a state of constant crisis, big and small. This continuous stress wrecks havoc on our bodies.

Restorative yoga allows us to counter that stress by inducing the Rest-and-Digest mode. Rest-and-Digest is essential for immunity, digestion, healing, and reproduction.

Restorative yoga helps us reestablish balance between “Fight-or-Flight” and “Rest-and-Digest”. Restorative yoga is a powerful tool to living a better life.

Restorative yoga is healing.

Restorative yoga is perfect for anyone in need of support or healing. It is perfect for persons recovering from illness, surgery, or injury. But it is also perfect for the most Type-A amongst us who are always running.

In other words, restorative is perfect for anyone.

By stepping out of the chronic cycle of “Fight or Flight” due to our fast paced society we allow the “Rest-and-Digest” system to kick in. You then support the body’s natural ability to heal.

Give your body the best chance it has to function optimally.

Restorative yoga is bliss.

How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Sometimes we wake up feeling refreshed. Sometimes, even after getting lots of hours of sleep, we wake up feeling like crap. Obviously it’s not just the number of hours of sleep you get but the quality of that sleep.

What if you could “wake up” from a session feeling like you’d just gotten the best of sleep in your life?

Welcome to restorative yoga.

Do you want to experience true relaxation? Come to a class, a workshop, or request privates/semi-privates.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Samantha permalink
    June 7, 2011 1:49 pm

    I work in Newton but live in Jamaica Plain. I’m trying to find a regular restorative yoga class because I am undergoing IVf treatments and I’ve heard that restorative yoga can help in dealing with the stress of the IVF process as well as increasing the odds for success.

    I’ve done Birkram & Vinyasa but not specifically “Restorative” or Hatha yoga (at least I don’t think I have).

    Are there any regular Restorative yoga classes scheduled for June & July?


    • June 14, 2011 3:33 am

      Hi Samantha-
      So great to hear from you! Restorative can definitely support the IVF process for those very reasons you’ve noted. I am actually away this summer, so am not personally offering classes or privates in June or July. (I plan on adding back weekly or monthly restorative classes starting late summer/early fall. Probably at the beginning of September.) You might find the comfort and attention of a private restorative practice to be particularly useful as well.
      Let me see if I can direct you to some public classes and teachers in the area. I’ll get back to you.

      When you do try Restorative, try it with an open mind. Sometimes staying still, or releasing/relaxing can be MUCH harder than moving. Being patient and being compassionate with yourself, whatever your experience, will give you the most benefit.
      p.s. I was inspired by your comment to do some sketches of restorative poses to do at home. I’ll be posting them in the coming days. Hopefully the visuals can inspire you to do some of the asana (poses) on your own or between classes.


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