“Bring a change – slowly but comfortably!” Well, that’s exactly what restorative yoga is meant to do. Restorative Yoga is a form of yoga in which you are not expected to break a single drop of sweat, but slowly open up your body with few stretched poses.
Restorative yoga, as the name suggests, helps to heal your body and restore your energies in a relaxed way. Moreover, this beautiful technique of yoga consists of simple asana which should be done for 10 minutes or more.
Origin of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga was first taught by B.K.S. Iyengar (Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar) of Bellur, India. His basic aim was to bring “Meditation in Action”. Similarly, his teaching comprises all the eight elements in asana practice and this yoga was taken as inspiration from Hindu deities such as yoga Narasimha.
However, this practice of yoga did not come at an easy cost, when Guru Iyengar met up with a road traffic accident and dislocated his spine, he started thinking of better ways to help disabled people practice yoga, and came up with a fantastic idea of using props to assist in yoga, which today is gaining more popularity than ever before.
Postures Included In Restorative Yoga
1. Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)
2. Seated Cat-Cow (Upavistha Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
3. Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
4. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
5. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)
6. Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
7. Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Basic Instructions for Restorative Yoga
OK, so if you have, finally decided to give this form of yoga a shot; trust me, you won’t regret starting it! Without stressing much, here are some simple steps that you can follow:
- You must have a yoga mat and a simple prop to support you while you balance in a certain posture.
- This step might sound very simple but is actually very important. You must be dressed in comfortable wear.
- This yoga should only be done after 2 hours of a meal; it will be perfect if you practice this yoga in the morning.
- Restorative yoga will not make you sweat much, so if it’s cold, you’d better do this yoga while wearing your jumper and full yoga pants.
- You can play soft music while being in this posture, so during yoga, you don’t get stressed out instead of being relaxed.
- You need to be in the posture for 10 minutes or more; therefore, setting an alarm to mark the time is the best idea.
- You can also use the wall of your room as support while doing certain poses.
- The best way to do restorative yoga is in a group and encouraging each other.
The Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Among many studies, an interesting study was done in 2013, on restorative yoga. It was done in the University Of California, San Diego on overweight women who were trying their best to lose weight.
Compared to the women who practiced general stretching, women who were involved in 48 weeks of restorative yoga showed a significant decrease in the subcutaneous fat. This noticeable weight loss can also be attributed to decrease cortisol levels as the level of cortisol is highly responsible for increased abdominal fat.
Let’s be real, there is no yoga which has no benefits and restorative yoga is no different! This yoga and the yoga poses are surely going to relax you, and if you are a fan of practicing exercise in a very chill and calm way, this yoga is surely made for you. So here are some benefits of this beautiful yoga.
1. Full and Deep Stretches
This yoga helps to flex and extend your body in a certain direction for a specific amount of time, due to which your body will not get tired, and in the end, you will land up feeling relaxed. Plus, if any part of your body has been in the wrong posture for a long time, you can correct it with this yoga.
2. Letting the Tension go
Restorative yoga is not about achieving an end goal, but rather a technique in which you let your body experience the release of tension. By keeping your body in a relaxed, yet stretched posture, you will allow your body to release all its strain.
3. Increased Flexibility
Compared to other types of yoga, this yoga has no goal (like being able to touch your feet in a week). It’s as simple as it sounds, just re-storing your posture and increasing your flexibility in the most convenient way.
4. Emotional Healing
Well, this does sound a bit bizarre but restorative yoga actually helps in mental healing. Trust me, fixing your body in a specific posture not only increases your flexibility but also decreases the cortisol level, giving you a sense of relief.
5. Speedy Recovery
If you are one of those individuals who recently got any kind of medical disorder and are in the phase of convalescence, restorative yoga will help you heal quicker for sure.
6. Boost your Immunity
Believe me, when I say any form of exercise can boost your immune function, and in that case, restorative yoga is not unusual! Regular practice of this yoga helps you to fight off infection and keeps you healthy in general.
7. Startup For Meditation
I can totally relate to the feeling that you get when you sit for meditation but your mind keeps floating around. Well, it’s very obvious for any starter to not be able to concentrate. Furthermore, this yoga keeps your body in a relaxed state but in stretched posture, so you will not fall asleep and at the same time, your mind will focus on the strained area. Therefore, you will be able to meditate feeling very light.
Additionally, any form of yoga is sure to give you many health benefits and restorative yoga is also one of those healthy-body-maker. Moreover, if you are looking for yoga to open up your body and make it more flexible then, restorative yoga should be in your priority list without a doubt.