Why Restorative Yoga?
These days we’re all living fast-paced lives that sometimes seem full to bursting with stress, and it can be hard to find a good way to help ease that tension and find inner balance. Restorative yoga is becoming increasingly popular for the way it can help you find peace, relaxation, and balance amidst the chaos of everyday life. And while not as dynamic and complex as other varieties of yoga, restorative yoga nevertheless offers a great many potential health an wellness benefits.
What sets restorative yoga apart from other styles of yoga is its overall simplicity. Unlike other yoga styles that rely on performing a multitude of different poses in order to bring about relaxation and stress relief while also increasing flexibility and muscle strength, restorative yoga instead involves just a few simple poses that are held for a time, with no strenuous muscular contractions at all; occasionally props are used in order to help you to better relax and rest while holding these poses. Restorative yoga can be particularly helpful to anyone who is chronically ill or recovering from an injury or illness due to how simple and relaxing it is (with minimal strain on your body).
Some of the more common poses for restorative yoga include seated forward folds, light twists, gentle back-bends, and other various low-impact stretches. These poses are chosen for their simplicity, how they can stretch your muscles without straining them, and how they can be held for a few minutes of a time to encourage relaxation and relieve tension in your muscles and joints. The practice of restorative yoga also features deep breathing techniques, which can help to lower both your blood pressure and heart rate while also encouraging a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.
Some potential benefits from restorative yoga include (but are not limited to) enhanced flexibility, increased relaxation throughout your body, and boosts to the immune system and nervous system. You will also find it easier to achieve peace of mind and inner balance, and possibly even experience elevated and enhanced moods.
The nervous system in particular benefits from restorative yoga, thanks to the deep breathing and slower paced exercise (especially the long stretches and bends) triggering your parasympathetic nervous system, which can help to relax your body and relieve the effects of stress on your body (particularly the stress associated with your flight-or-fight response, which can be harmful to your body in the long-term if it activates too frequently due to a stressful work or home environment).
Restorative yoga is also good for increasing mindfulness, thanks to the slow tempo of exercise and way the smooth and easy exercises encourage you to relax both your body and mind, as well as seek out your inner balance. The meditative state that many people an achieve during restorative yoga sessions can also help with introspection and self-awareness, and potentially even help with a heightened awareness of your physical body and its connection not just to your own mind and spirit but the rest of the world as well.