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Yoga Lowdown, Why Practice Restorative Yoga?
November 15, 2014

Why Practice Restorative Yoga?

First of all, “What is Restorative Yoga?”

Restorative is yoga’s softer side.

We rarely take the time to rest in our daily lives, being productive and working hard are more valued in US society.

Restorative yoga poses help us learn to relax and rest deeply and completely. It also stimulates and soothes organs and improves concentration.

A restorative practice is excellent for calming and grounding.

During a restorative yoga practice, one has the chance to reduce stress and renew the body’s organic systems. In restorative yoga, props are used to support the body so that you can hold poses for longer, allowing you to open your body through passive stretching.

The postures are usually adapted from supine, inverted or seated yoga poses with the addition of blocks, bolsters, blankets, backless chairs and wall ropes to eliminate unnecessary straining.

The use of supporting props also increases the amount of time you can hold inversions.

The effects of inverted poses include dramatically altering hormone levels; thus, reducing brain arousal, blood pressure, fluid retention, a slowing of the heart rate and dilation of the blood vessels in the upper body that comes from reversing the effects of gravity.

Restorative classes are usually very relaxing and are a good compliment to more active practices. The lights may be dimmed and if it is chilly, you may be covered with a blanket since you will not be warming up the body the way you would be in an active class.

After you are set up in a pose with all your props, you will hold the pose for an extended period, often up to ten minutes. Although you are supported, you will definitely still feel the stretch. It's a relaxing style of practice that leaves you feeling open and refreshed.

Yoga should be practiced to change the patterns of energy within you. Therefore varying the tempo of your daily yoga practice may enhance the effects both physically and spiritually. BKS Iyengar encouraged one Restorative practice per week, at minimum. During times of great stress or illness Restorative Yoga could be your only practice. Slow down your yoga practice once in awhile.

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Marj Rash
Yoga Mart USA

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