The first time I experienced restorative yoga was on a spa vacation celebrating my 50th birthday. After one class, I couldn’t wait to get back. It is an unbelievably healing and spiritual experience.
In restorative yoga, props are used to help you hold postures and relax into them for longer, allowing the body to release deep-rooted tension. Props may include bolsters, blocks, or several folded blankets. Sometimes if lying on your back, you may use an eye pillow over your eyes. It’s heavenly.
As you hold postures for several minutes or more with your back and knees securely supported, you are literally restoring areas of your body. You can almost feel the healing, as if an imaginary person were waving a magic wand over you.
With the support of the props, the body feels weightless, as if you were floating in a swimming pool. This can be especially soothing for people recovering from an eating disorder and body image issues.
It’s beautiful to feel the props supporting you and holding up, putting your body into just the right posture to enable you to benefit from the healing and relaxation. A restorative yoga class is the equivalent of a quality nap, or a couple of extra hours of sleep.
Restorative yoga can also be transformative for people recovering from trauma, provided the facilitator has experience and understanding in dealing with those issues.
Physical recovery incorporates a balance of movement, healthy exercise, nutrition and food plan, and adequate rest and rejuvenation. Restorative yoga is an ideal way to incorporate that element.
For more information about restorative yoga, see Relax and Renew by Judith Lasater.