What is Restorative Yoga?

restorative yogaWe’ve all heard about restorative sleep, restorative dentistry and restorative justice, but what about restorative yoga?  What is different about this new and interesting form of yoga, and why should you learn about it?

Restorative yoga is conscious relaxation practice for the body and mind that relies on props to support the body.  Unlike other forms of yoga which stretches and twists the body into difficult poses, the props are there to relax and open the body and release tension, as well as stored up toxins that can lead to illness.  In many ways, restorative yoga has many of the same effects as massage therapy.  It can benefit the practitioner by helping with conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, insomnia and migraines.

What does restorative yoga look like?

Forward bends, for example, gently lengthen all the muscles in the back of the body. Chest-opening poses, for example, encourage breath and prana (energy) to flow through the entire body.  Done in sequence, a restorative yoga practice will bring your whole body into a deeply relaxed state, allowing your mind to be quietly reflective.  Ultimately, it brings the mental, psychological, and emotional bodies into a blissful balance.

As one practices this sequence of movements, the mind softens and begins to feel the sensations in the body of release and openness.  Gradually all aspects of the self are whole, and one finds oneself at the center of it all.

Hints for practice

The most important part of truly “restorative” yoga is the use of supportive propos.  Be sure to use enough support, in the form of blankets, bolsters, pillows or other props, so that no muscular effort is required for you to remain in a pose.   In other words, this is not really “exercise,” per se. Let the pose do its work. Your job is to just let go.

Keep your body warm so it can be fully relaxed, and always use an eye bag when lying in a supine position.  Adjust the support as needed so that the body remains comfortable and you can hold the pose longer.

Consider using zafus and zabutons

The popular zabuton is ideal for your restorative yoga sessions, but it is also designed to aid in meditation. Created exclusively for Chopa, these high quality meditation cushions are ergonomically designed and assist in maintaining good posture. They are well stuffed with layers of natural cotton batting, and encased in a durable 100% cotton denim twill fabric cover.  The Zafu meditation cushion is designed to maintain good posture and ease pressure on legs and knee joints. This Zafu cushions featured at Chopa have a soft yet durable cotton twill fabric cover.

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One Response to “What is Restorative Yoga?”

  1. Francis Lindsay Beveridge says:

    Thank-you for information and inspiration. Namaste

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