Recently, I’ve been practicing yoga more and more. It’s been a big change in my life. When I first started, I had the best intentions of just starting and then quitting. However, then I started noticing a difference in how I felt, how I slept, how I was able to focus, and how my mood was affected. This made me want to stick with it.
Restorative yoga has been proven to be a highly effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and back pain. It has also been proven to be highly effective in helping people of all shapes and sizes get into and stay in the poses. So, it stands to reason that it would be a highly effective treatment option for someone who may be suffering from obesity. Yet many people who are obese are hesitant to take up yoga.
Restorative yoga is the practice of yoga where you move slowly from pose to pose, allowing you to relax into each one. It’s a form of yoga that’s often used as a treatment for injuries, back pain, and pain from other sources. In the traditional yoga practice, you move from pose to pose—Savasana is the final pose of the practice and it’s one of the most important.
When your life is in full swing, so is your mind. Restorative yoga helps create physical and mental balance to avoid stress and anxiety by using props that allow you to hold poses longer, giving you all the benefits of a deep passive stretch.
Poses such as the child’s pose, feet against the wall and Savasana should be held for at least a few minutes, and you can stay in place for up to 15 minutes using bolsters, pillows, straps, blocks etc. to support the body in a full, long and comfortable stretch.
While exercise helps you find space, sometimes you want to experience stillness and silence. A good way to slow down the process is to meditate regularly. Meditation calms the mind and often focuses on breathing, allowing you to find a sense of calm as your busy day continues. Sign up for a free 30-day meditation course to complete your restorative yoga flow. You will feel more open and your body will be better prepared to move with intention.
Here are the main reasons to spend some more time discovering and breathing in the benefits of this nourishing yoga practice.
1. Benefits of full and deep belts
Do you think you have to work to do something good for your body? Active training is good, but you can be in a stress position without feeling the burn. Longer supportive postures help the body to fully engage, soften and allow for precise positioning.
2. Greater flexibility
All types of yoga will help you become more flexible, but regular use of resting postures will lead you to nirvana faster.
Restorative yoga isn’t a stretch class, though, and there’s no end goal, like touching your toes after 10. You explore what happens when you release the tension that usually holds your body together.
3. Find out where you keep your stress
Resting postures give you the opportunity to notice where you are holding that tension – like paint stuck to the parts of you that are stiff and tense. Once you are aware of this, you can make small changes in your daily life to reduce the stress and tension you allow to build up in your body.
4. Fat loss and slimming
A 2013 study from the University of California at San Diego found that restorative yoga helps overweight women lose fat. The study compared restorative yoga with a more active stretching program for 48 weeks and found that women who did yoga lost more subcutaneous fat.
Yogis also lost more weight than stretchers. One explanation could be that restorative yoga lowers cortisol levels, high levels of which are associated with more belly fat.
5. Improvement of the immune system
Regular practice of restorative yoga helps strengthen your immune system and makes you less susceptible to all those cold and flu viruses that are making the rounds.
6. Balance of nervous system
Use restorative exercises to activate your nervous system and bring your body into a state of renewal and rejuvenation. Benefits include optimizing the flow of energy to organs, tissue regeneration, and reducing the fight-or-flight response.
7. Calm your mind
Restorative yoga can be a soothing embrace for your over-stimulated mind. But be warned, you may feel like you’re taking a yogi nap, but once you get into it, you’ll find out just how tough they can be. Be patient; just because your body is resting doesn’t mean your mind will automatically become calmer.
Over time, you will learn to sink into the silence and just live quietly in the moment.
8. Recovery from illness
We all need rest, whether you’re recovering from a muscle strain, a broken bone, a severe bout of the flu, or a chronic illness. If you don’t practice more active asanas, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the healing properties of yoga.
Restorative yoga allows you to practice when your energy is low and your body is recovering.
9. Healing of emotional pain
Just as you need to regain your physical strength after an illness, you need to heal your emotional wounds. Calming postures can bring relief to people who have lost a loved one or relationship, are processing a change in their lives, or are struggling with depression or anxiety.
10. Transition to meditation practice
If you want to benefit from meditation, but don’t know how to start or continue it, restorative yoga for many is a bridge between the familiar postures and the unfamiliar and often intimidating practice of meditation.
During a restorative yoga class you may feel vulnerable, emotional or anxious – all part of a powerful process that allows you to create space and let go. Wearing a mask over your eyes, wrapping yourself in a blanket, or putting your feet up against a wall can help you ground and calm yourself.
Some postures help the heart, others the lungs. Others benefit the whole body. They are all nutritious and useful for life if practiced regularly.
We’ve all heard about the golden triangle of health and wealth: good food, good medicine and good sleep. It turns out there’s another powerful tool in your health toolbox that has been largely overlooked: yoga.