The benefits of Restorative yoga are worth taking a moment and reading about. They are vast and can be life changing. Most people think it isn't very beneficial to the body- just an excuse to lay on your mat and be lazy. I am here to share that it is so much more than that.
“Subtle and progressive trumps dramatic and immediate.” -Bo Forbes
Restorative yoga is a way to go deep into the body by using props such as blankets, bolsters, straps, and more. By making the body as comfortable as possible, you can relax more fully and begin your journey to restore your body, mind, and soul.
A few of the ways Restorative yoga benefits the body are:
- turns off fight-flight-freeze response
- slows heart rate
- reduces blood pressure and cholesterol
- turns on relaxation response
- releases physical tension
- stimulates immunity and lymph flow*
All of the above benefits can help counteract the effect that stress places on the body:
- loss of memory
- heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure
- digestive impairment
- sleep problems
- weight gain
Restorative yoga also directly affects the Vagus Nerve which is the largest cranial nerve and starts at the back base of the cranium and flows throughout the body connecting the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. It regulates our breath, heart rate, digestion, and mood. Taking deeper, slower breaths greatly helps calm the body and aids the vagus nerve in processing new information and experiences. If we are under constant stress, it inhibits the vagus nerve from doing its job. Constant stress causes our digestion to slow, our heart rate increases and our mood may shift unpredictably.
Restorative yoga is a wonderful practice for athletes. If performed after athletic events or physical exertion, the body relaxes and may begin to feel less sore. It is a great tool for a more gentle physical recovery.
If you haven't tried Restorative yoga, I would highly recommend it. It's worth the hour of breath, focus, and stillness. Try something new. Get out of your stress breath, get on your mat and breathe.
Grace and peace to you all,
*Forbes, NYC, Yoga Journal Conference 2014