Most of us are programmed to "do" a lot—it keeps us engaged and makes us feel productive and in control. But our habit of running around, conquering our to-do lists, and fueling ourselves with ambition can often be a way we avoid deep discomforts or feelings in the body and mind. Restorative yoga is the opportunity to turn inward.
Restorative yoga asks us to stop engaging in all the doing and face what we really need to look at about ourselves, to learn about and care for the whole of ourselves in a way we are not used to. This is an essential step towards healing. Many perceive relaxation as an act of letting go; but rather than throwing out, restorative yoga creates space for what’s uncomfortable and to allow more space for the full experience of who we are.
Restorative yoga uses long-held, supported resting poses to create the conditions for us to cultivate the skill of conscious relaxation and most importantly to release unnecessary habitual tension in the body and mind. It's a little bit closer to a meditation practice than a movement practice—it's a way of practicing "meditation" as a somatic, embodied experience
Less Doing, More Being
The actual effort involved in restorative yoga is the willingness to look at how and where we are subconsciously holding tension. Discovering where and how we hold tension helps us find room for change, so that tension won’t limit our physical, emotional, and mental wellness and our comfort in our body.
Relaxation as a Response
Restorative yoga helps us elicit the relaxation response. This is the neurological response that initiates the body's self-healing process. The grounding and quieting qualities of restorative yoga foster the longevity systems of long-term health, including digestion, elimination, reproduction, growth and repair, and immunity.