Rest & Restore
Restorative yoga. Have you ever tried it?
If you haven't, please do. There is something incredibly magical and healing about it. As I am writing this, I am uploading my final practical exam video for my Restorative Yoga Teacher Training. I am so proud. After what could only be a described as a tumultuous few weeks of moving etc to have taken part and completed this 4 day immersion is such an achievement.
So, why restorative yoga?
Now knowing what I know looking at the picture below, I would add support for under my head, elevate the bolster on two blocks and add an eye covering for my eyes to make it even more nourishing.
Restorative yoga is a deeply nourishing and supported yoga practises. It's main aim is to recalibrate the nervous system - moving us out of our stress response (fight/flight/freeze) and into our parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) - Rest & Digest sounds pretty good, no?
Now before I go any further, being in our sympathetic nervous system aka stress response, is actually a goof thing. Just in the right amounts. It helps us to take ourselves out of harms way, be in the "doing" phase, meeting deadlines, being creative and so on and so forth. However we must, and I stress MUST, find ways of downregulating the nervous system so that we are not in that state all of the time. Everything in moderation.
In a restorative yoga session, we use as many props as we have available to us. This will look different for everyone as we practise at home. Some props may include bolster or bed pillows, blocks or thick books, blankets, cushions, eye pillows and anything else cosy you can grab. Our aim is to not find a stretch or exert the body in any way, our aim is to fully support the body with a range of props to find complete comfort and ease within the shapes. I'm feeling more relaxed even thinking about it! Some of the wonderful benefits may include activating the relaxation response, reducing stress, elevating and stabilising mood, reducing anxiety and improving sleep.
For me, this practise has been a lifeline as I find myself in a transitionary part of life. Moving, no stable home base, moving into a permanent home soon and the transition back to in person teaching. Rest and recovery are not things to be shoved to the back or in the "I will get to it when I have time" box. Rest and recovery, I believe, are essential for us to living an optimally healthy life. I have gone to the extreme of having no rest and recovery and living in a stressful state and now tasting what it's like to live with harmonising healthy stress and rest, well I do not want to go back.
If you are interested in learning more, please reach out. As the weeks and months go on, I will be adding restorative sessions into my schedule. For now, our monthly instalment of Sunday Wind Down Evening Flow is now heavily influenced by my learnings with Eva Maxine. And if you are interested in training in either Yin Yoga or Restorative, I have completed both of my trainings with Eva online and they have been transformational. She is continuing to run her trainings online (you can find her on eva.yoga).