I didn’t always love restorative yoga. In fact, there was a time I really really didn’t like it much. I mean, it’s weird, right? In this country, we grow up learning that the people ahead in life by working their asses off, never giving up, and never slowing down—much less stop to rest. I used to believe that. I wanted my yoga practice to make my muscles sore so I felt like I was accomplishing something. Savasana made my foot twitch. I would lay there dreaming up ALL the things I’d do as soon as my yoga teacher would ring that damn singing bowl.
Things are a little different these days. I still think it’s a good quality to work hard and put your everything into what you’re doing, It’s just when you put everything in, you have to also put effort into replenishing yourself. If you get in your car and go, go, go all day long, ignore your gas levels, and refuse to stop to fill up your tank you’re not going to get as far as you would if you had just taken that 15 minute break to fill up the tank, you know what I mean?
I know what you’re thinking. That’s what food and sleep are for, Erica. Food and sleep fuel your body. But there’s a lot more to you than a body, right? You also have a mind, emotions, intuition, the need to create, the ability to give and receive love — these are all needs that can’t be met by simply eating and sleeping. Restorative yoga poses, passive poses like Savasana (Final Resting Pose), Supta Baddha Konasna (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), and Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose), are one of my all time favorite self-care methods that help me to recharge so I can keep giving my best to the world.
Restorative Yoga, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways….
|Photo by Robert Bejil|
10 Reasons to Love Restorative Yoga
1. Rest your physical body. Tired limbs get to sink into the support of the floor, a bolster, blocks, or a blanket.
2. Soothe your nervous system. Stressed out nervous systems get to stop fleeing from non-existent tigers, if even just for a moment.
3. Rest your brain. Tired brains get a break from their constant activity…. eventually. It might take a while to still the mind when you’re in a restorative posture (that’s why it can be so challenging), but even if the thoughts don’t stop completely eventually they will slow down and you’ll find more space in between the thoughts.
4. If you go to a restorative class, you let someone else take care of YOU. Are you comfy? Let me go get you another blankey. Is the candlelight disturbing you, my darling? I’ll go get an eye pillow. It’s a full-service experience, and it’s awesome.
5. The less you do, the more benefits you receive.
6. It’s easy to incorporate other kinds of self-care—soft music, aromatherapy, snuggly blankets—into a restorative yoga session, especially if you’re practicing at home.
7. Practice letting go. We hold on to so much—muscle tension, thought patterns, attachments, expectations.. When your physical body is completely supported, you start to feel supported in other areas, too, so maybe you can let go of both tension, and other unhealthy things you’re holding on to.
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8. Get more done. It’s counter-productive, but, as I noted in the intro the more you give yourself room to relax, the more balanced you’ll be—and that means that when you need to get stuff done, you’ll be able to think more clearly, focus on the task at hand, and rock it out.
9. Get to know yourself better. All types of yoga should help you get to know yourself better (that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?) but the contemplative nature of restorative poses can help you to deepen that relationships with yourself even more.
10. Learn to make yourself a priority, be kinder to yourself, and pass it on. I’ll be frank, sometimes I really suck at taking care of myself. When my life gets busy, it’s just so easy to let self-care fall off my to-do list. But when we practice being kind to ourselves and give ourselves permission to just be whoever we are in any given moment, it changes everything—the way we see ourselves, the way others treat us, and how we interact in the world. That’s really powerful stuff. And it’s totally worth spending a few minutes in a lovely Supported Child Pose (Balasana) as a daily reminder of that.
Do you love restorative yoga, too? Tell me WHY below!
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