I used to be a firm believer in the fitness routine that if I didn't push my body to the extreme, to feel some level of pain, then it wasn't worth my time. I've always been an athlete, and a competitive one at that. To this day, I love to beat even my own kids at a game of tennis or a race. So to even consider slowing down for a restorative yoga class, no way. That is until I walked into a class by accident one afternoon, peoples legs hoisted up the walls with "pillows" under their backs, and I took it upon myself to try something new. I left the class absolutely hooked. You see this yoga class turned my otherwise tired, sore body into a post-massage power-house. I felt energized, relaxed and well, restored.
No matter your age or fitness level, restorative yoga can benefit you and should be a compliment to your fitness routine. This style of yoga focuses on relaxation using props to support the body, and a session leaves you feeling rested and at peace. According to Brandyce Stephenson, a yoga instructor and corporate wellness consultant, "The practice restores your whole being-mind, body and spirit. In an increasingly chaotic world, restorative yoga can be the calm in your storm."
Here are 5 good reasons why you too might enjoy restorative yoga.
1. Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety can often be the result of compounded stress and worry very much rooted in the non-presence. This practice of yoga helps the student become present in the moment and just be. The deep relaxed state you attain during restorative yoga allows you to physically release accumulated stress in the form of tight muscles and a busy mind.
2. Manage Pain
If you suffer from chronic pain, relaxing your muscles is just what you need. Restorative yoga has been shown to affect chronic pain by focusing on the mind-body experience through yoga poses, breathing techniques and meditation practices. Focusing on conscious breathing and having healing thoughts while letting go of tension helps the body to heal.
3. Increase Flexibility
By increasing your flexibility, you're enabling your body to release tension you might be carrying in your muscles. This can help you reduce your chances of injury and can make you more limber. With restorative yoga, individuals are holding various poses for several minutes, allowing the body to fully engage, soften, and allow the precise positioning to work its magic.
4. Boost Your Immune System
A regular restorative yoga practice has been shown to boost your immune system and decrease inflammation in the body, according to new research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Psychological stress can impact many systems in the body, including weakening the immune system and increasing chronic inflammation.
5. Encourages Greater Self-Awareness
We know that certainly yoga poses are great for improving self esteem, but restorative yoga also helps you develop greater self-awareness. Through the practice, you further develop skills such as dedication, patience, compassion, and courage. It can also nurture your spiritual growth.
The benefits listed above are just a few of the mind-blowing and physical advantages of doing restorative yoga. To truly understand, you need to see for yourself. Enjoy!