Earlier this summer I took part in a five day restorative yoga immersion training. Our homework for the first night was to come up with our unique definition of "What is Restorative Yoga?" While my answer is fluid and changes from time to time, this is what I came up with that day-
Restorative yoga is a series of forms or shapes which are supported by any means necessary that coupled with stillness provides an opportunity for the nervous system to balance out.
This support comes in many forms.
- External Physical- such as the floor, the wall or props
- Environmental- such as sound, light, temperature, layout
- Interpersonal- such as listening, speaking, holding space
- Self Honor
The idea of this method of yoga is to relax and renew the nervous system. My understanding is that we come to this practice looking at the body as a whole. We do this by "teaching people, not poses." From there a suggested form or shape is provided and then typically held for 5-15 minutes. Because most of these forms are externally supported, it offers a greater opportunity to hold them for longer periods of time. Observations we as teachers look for are movement, tension, breath patterns, and how the body lies (bone alignment). Adjustments can be made to help change feedback or the experience as a whole.
In the state most of us are in on a daily basis, chronic stress, overworked, ill and/or injured, this is a suggest method of yoga practice for you. One pose daily for 20 minutes can provide great benefit to your overall well-being.