By Karon Shovers, Certified Anusara Teacher, ERYT 500
I often hear that Restorative Yoga is a luxury activity, similar to getting a facial or massage or that it is for people who are not strong and flexible or can’t do a “regular” yoga class. Some students believe that conscious resting will not help them shed unwanted weight. Students who practice Restorative Yoga regularly claim that it is a necessity like brushing their teeth. It can help prevent stiffness, back pain and feeling over-stressed. What is the truth about Restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga compliments and magnifies the benefits of our asana (posture) practice and all types of movement. It helps us unlock the secret to going slow, paying attention and sitting still. When you practice intentional rest, you will discover more energy for your family, work, creativity and more vigorous exercise.
According to Roger Cole, a sleep researcher, “Restorative Yoga allows you to recover fully from all the stresses and strains of life. By relaxing muscles, lowering your heart rate and allowing your nervous system to stop constantly reacting, you are not only more relaxed but more focused and effective.” This, in itself, lends to greater productivity and time management.
A 48-week study was done by the National Institute of Health to prove that Restorative Yoga can help people lose significant weight and subcutaneous fat. Restorative yoga decreases the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with weight gain, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The fact that restorative yoga helps people lose weight is an added bonus, researches say, because the more aerobic styles of yoga or a gym workout can prove to be challenging or intimidating for someone overweight or injured and restorative yoga is easily accessible to all. Most importantly, Restorative Yoga is conscious relaxation and a valuable tonic to many mental and physical ailments.
Rest is radical magic. Come try out a Restorative class and add this important practice weekly or twice weekly to your schedule. You won't regret it.