Restorative is maybe my favourite kind of yoga. Actually, no question: it’s definitely my favourite by far. That’s not to say that vinyasa, power and bikram don’t have their merits – but yoga for the purpose of relaxation is seriously awesome. When you’re bored on the internet and reading ‘yoga for weight loss’ articles, restorative doesn’t really come into the picture (incorrectly in my opinion). It’s absolutely worth your time, and even if you don’t believe me- your body would thank me.
Rest is Best
After working out, it might not seem obvious – but rest is the best thing for your body and restorative is like a magical active recovery elixir. It gives your body everything that normal yoga does, while allowing the muscles and connective tissues to relax. You might not even realise that your body needs a break, but in all likelihood – it does. Especially given our society of over-working and lack of sleep, self-care is more important than ever.
It feels like stretching in the best way possible. restorative involves a lot of holding postures for very long periods of time, and you can legitimately feel your muscles stretching and your body relaxing into deeper variations of poses. In normal yoga class, I can only stretch down so far in a forward fold, but once I get into restorative: I am a master bender and more flexible than I ever thought possible (i.e. huge confidence boost).
Calm Your Mind
Because it has less movement, restorative gives your mind a chance to calm down. The focus on breath and meditation gives you moments of stillness in a world that’s constantly moving at the pace of light. It sounds a bit cheesy and over-the-top, but speaking from experience, after a well-used restorative class, I feel like I’m floating on a cloud.
It gives you an excuse to be lazy. Doing restorative yoga rarely feels like an hour of working yourself into difficult athletic poses (and thank goodness). It’s more like those slow Sunday mornings where you get to stretch into weird positions on your bed. Yeah. It’s pretty fantastic.
In summary: restorative yoga is awesome! It’s not just worth your time every once in a while, it’s worth it every week, and it’s utterly fantastic. I don’t think that stretching, meditation, laziness and rest are never NOT wanted – so go and give restorative a try!
Have you tried restorative yoga, friends? How did it go?
Photo from Bad Yogi community member Irene Soto