Feeling overwhelmed with life’s demands, but still drawn to dynamic yoga classes or high-intensity workouts? Truth is, when we opt for physically demanding movement practices we put additional stress on the body and nervous system. Of course, these practices have a place but oftens something intentionally slower is what the mind and body really needs. That’s where yin yoga and restorative yoga practices come into their own. More than simply a ‘recovery’ class to stretch out already fatigued muscles - restorative yoga provides an opportunity to create inner peace leaving you feeling recharged and restored.
Intrigued? Find out why you should add more restorative yoga into your weekly routine.
What is Restorative Yoga?
Adding slow and mindful practices into our routines can bring balance to busy lifestyles and have the capacity to heal stress-related physical and emotional issues. Sure, yoga helps to bring mind, body and breath into union - but faster-paced classes can also become another opportunity to ‘keep up’ or ‘achieve’ certain postures. Slow styles of yoga such as restorative yoga give us the space and time to really focus on releasing tension in a supportive environment - on just being, rather than doing. Restorative yoga uses props like bolsters and blocks to support the body in poses that are held for up to several minutes. These supported resting poses create the conditions for us to enter a state of relaxation and most importantly to notice and release built-up habitual tension in the body and mind.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga teaches us to relax fully into the postures with the support of yoga props so we can release tension and focus on the breath. In turn, we activate the part of the nervous system responsible for the rest and digest process - the parasympathetic nervous system - to bring us out of the stress state and promote conditions for healing. The focus is on ‘letting go’ - letting go of all muscular effort and trusting the mat and props will support us and ‘letting go’ of any unhelpful thoughts or feelings that may be holding us back or getting in the way. The result is a deep release both physically and emotionally that with regular practice, continues beyond the class.
Finding Comfort in Discomfort
Many of us live our lives ticking off to-do lists and racing from one commitment to the next. Being busy helps us to feel productive and in control - but this unwillingness to slow down can often be a way we avoid uncomfortable feelings in the body and mind. On the surface - the idea of sinking into a savasana is appealing - but often, when we do slow down it isn’t always comfortable. Restorative yoga asks us to stop engaging in the external and to tune in internally. It’s a practice of more than just letting go, but one of making space and witnessing what’s uncomfortable and allowing more space for the full experience of who we are.
Our Go-To Restorative Postures
Restorative yoga doesn’t always have to be a dedicated 60 minute class. Try these simple but effective restorative poses before bed or when you shut off your laptop to let go of the day (PJs and soothing playlist, totally optional but highly recommended.)
Want to try restorative yoga? Head over to our YouTube channel to find a range of free classes with our Fable Ambassador teachers. Looking for a restorative or Yin yoga playlist? Head over to our Spotify page to find a selection of soothing sounds.