3BY Note: You may have noticed some new props at the studios. In addition to the blocks and straps, you’ll see some bolsters and blankets. These will be used in our new class type – Restorative Yoga. You may also use them in a vinyasa class if it’s part of the teacher’s class plan. Restorative yoga is a great compliment to a physical yoga class and is a completely different experience then the move, breathe and sweat classes. The blog below is to give you greater insight into the restorative yoga experience.
Restorative yoga uses deep relaxation, breath, and meditation to maintain, or renew any depletion of the body’s energy, literally restoring vitality to the body. It’s is a wonderful way to practice cultivating ease and relaxation which are important tools on and off the mat to balance the chaos of busy schedules and responsibilities. It’s also a complement to a dynamic and powerful vinyasa practice.
This practice consists of passive adaptations of classical asana supported by yoga props (blocks, bolsters, blankets, etc) and is a gentle class focused on eliminating unnecessary muscular strain while simultaneously releasing tension within the many layers of the body. Restorative yoga was born from Iyengar yoga created by B.K.S. Iyengar, whose method incorporates props into extended holds for refining breath and alignment in an strong and active practice.
Borrowing from this method for a nurturing experience, restorative yoga also modifies poses with props for longer sustained holds. This gives the practitioner time to discover the poses on all levels and observe how the pose may change over time. Energy can be received without being exerted, which in turn allows the student to be fully nourished by the many beneficial physiological and psychological effects of the asana. These benefits are linked to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system achieved through restorative yoga’s intentional relaxation. More specifically, restorative yoga has been shown to facilitate the release of chronic tension patterns, improvement in immune function, and revitalization of key organs and glands through improved circulation of blood. This practice is accessible for students of all levels and is easily modified to accommodate a wide range of experience levels, minor injuries and sensitivities, and all stages of pregnancy.
Restorative yoga consists of a handful of intelligently sequenced postures held for 5-10+ minutes per pose. Pace of class is slow, allowing for gentle transitions in and out of postures, which are practiced with eyes closed. Class time is also used to set up the props in preparation for each pose, as well as contemplative space preceding each pose.