Restorative yoga has plenty of wonderful benefits that are often overshadowed by the popularity and visibility of more dynamic yoga styles.
A restorative practice frequently relies on the use of props like bolsters, zafus, pillows, blocks, belts and the prolonged holding of a few simple poses to achieve a deep level of relaxation. But what exactly makes this style of yoga unique? Here are some of the benefits a restorative yoga practice has to offer.
Slows Down the Pace of Life
Restorative yoga is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from the intense activity of daily life. It also helps prepare the mind and body for meditation. Moving slowly through the poses allows you to explore your mind and body at a steady and natural tempo.
Soothes the Nervous System
The slower pace and deep breathing that you get in a restorative yoga class triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This activation helps eliminate the effects of the regular stress response that can be damaging to your physiology and well-being. The overall calming effect on the nervous system sets a deeply relaxing tone for the class. that comforts your mind and body down to a cellular level.
Restorative yoga could just as easily be called “mindful yoga” due to the expanded awareness of self and body that comes through the practice. Slower movements cultivate space for a deeper experience of the poses and the breath. Awareness of the physical sensations, the thoughts or emotions that arise, or sounds in the environment, can all take on a much more profound significance in the depth of the restorative practice. Simply put, you’re able to notice and feel more of the world through your yoga experience.
Through the practice, muscles, joints, and subtle energy centers are enlivened to help facilitate a deeper and more comfortable experience of meditation. However, the practice of restorative yoga often leads to a transcendent experience of deep oneness with the universal level of consciousness. Each pose and each breath serves to lead you further up the ladder of expanded awareness. As the practice expands, the vehicle of yoga carries you from the waking state of consciousness into the silent space between your thoughts—the space from where you’re able to glimpse the soul and awaken the divinity within.
Cultivates Heightened Body Awareness
The comfortable pace of restorative yoga opens the doorway to a deeper understanding of your own body, letting you actually feel what it means to be a spiritual being having a human experience. Sadly, many people aren’t intimate with their own bodies. Through a restorative yoga practice, however, such intimacy can be explored and embraced. Deeper levels of strengths can be integrated and owned and a more profound sense of self-love and acceptance can emerge.
Deepens Self-Awareness and Introspection
The subdued quality of a restorative yoga class often helps you draw attention inward and away from external events and situations of the world. The awareness is directed within. The practice becomes a sanctuary for the mind and spirit from which you can take a deeper look at who you are, what you want, and how you can serve the world. Restorative yoga opens us up to new levels of self-exploration and contemplation, allowing your inner being to shine forth.