Relax with Restorative Yoga
As a Ph. D. in communications and cultural studies, I am continually reflecting on the ways that the culture we live in is mediated by the communication systems through which we consume our lives and how that transforms our individual experiences, our everyday life and our relationships. The constant demands to produce and consume in a fast paced world mediated by our powerful tiny hand held computers and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook has a tremendous impact on our lives.
Engaging for almost a decade as a yoga therapist in offering a safe a supportive environment for our yoga community members, I have observed the effect of this fast pace of life on my own nervous system and also my yoga students’ minds and bodies. In short this pace asks us to move too fast causing us to be twired (tired and wired) and eventually leading to overwhelm.
Restorative yoga is a style of yoga that uses props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, pillows, chair, sandbags, eye pillows to allow our body to deeply relax. By relaxing thoroughly into the support of our restorative yoga props we can elicit a relaxation response. This is a neurological response that tells our body that we are safe and pulls us out of the fight or flight mode. When we move out of fight or flight mode, we can turn on the rest and digest system, allowing our bodies to shift into long term growth and repair.
In a culture that pushes you to do more and be more, this is a radical act of resistance. Instead of conforming to the dominant culture’s pressure to produce and consume, you are joining a powerful subcultural movement to rest and renew. The intentions in a restorative yoga class are different from mainstream culture or even mainstream yoga. The restorative yoga movement offers you an aspiration to disconnect from the from the goals for the outer world and reconnect with your inner world.
The effort involved in a restorative yoga class is conscious relaxation as opposed to mindless relaxation. When you watching tv, youtube or are scrolling through social media you are mindlessly relaxing.
When we come into a restorative yoga pose, we recognize all the ways we hold tension in our bodies. In that way the effort involved in a restorative yoga class becomes about a willingness to look at how and where we are holding tension in our bodies and a willingness to allow the tension to soften into the props and ground.
How will we do that? With an impeccable standard of comfort. It is up to us to take the time to create the ultimate environment of comfort for our body, nervous system, skeletal system, muscular system, organ body, fluid system, breathing body, joints and cells. We can do this by taking the time to build our props to completely support our bodies throughout our restorative yoga class.
Restorative Yoga Sequence: Savasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, Raised Child´s Pose, Restorative Shoulderstand, Legs Up the Wall, Savasana
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