12 Reasons to Practice Restorative Yoga

by Fabienne Grossman

1. Stress Relief And Anxiety Reduction

Restorative yoga mitigates the physical effects of stress on the body. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, this style of yoga induces the ‘rest and digest’ mode of our physiology, giving us a respite from the ‘fight or flight’ stress response most of us live in a lot of the time. By calming the central nervous system, our bodies are able to direct healing energies to lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

 

2. Weight Management

Chronic stress promotes weight gain because it increases the level of cortisol, our main stress hormone. This extra cortisol nudges the abdomen into opening its fat depots and storing more fat than it would otherwise. Stress induced weight typically stockpiles around the waist, creating a ‘spare floatie’. By activating the relaxation response through restorative yoga, less belly fat will accumulate.

3. Enhanced Fertility

By eliciting the relaxation response, restorative yoga helps balance hormones and creates a receptive physiological environment for conception. Supported inversion poses in particular help bring fresh oxygenated blood to the reproductive organs.

4. Improved Flexibility Without Risk Of Injury

Restorative yoga is actually not about ‘stretching’. The physiological experience of ‘stretching’ is perceived by the body as a stress. Restorative yoga, by using numerous and a variety of yoga props, allows the body to surrender and simply ‘open’ vs. stretching. Therefore, any risk of injury is strongly mitigated.

5. Increased Respiratory Capacity

Restorative yoga encourages slower, deeper, relaxed breathing. This helps improve lung function, increasing the amount of oxygen available to the body.

6. Pain Relief

Research has shown that practicing yoga, meditation, or a combination of the two reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases and hypertension. Those suffering with chronic back and neck pain also reported benefits.

7. Absolute Inclusivity

Restorative yoga is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, body size, health condition, and fitness level. This style of yoga is being used in hospitals, with bed ridden patients! An advantage of the use of many yoga props in this type of yoga is that poses can be adapted and adjusted to individual needs and limitations.

8. Healing For Those Dealing With Illness And Recovery

Restorative yoga engages our parasympathetic nervous system which puts the body into the “rest and digest” state. Because this is the physiological state that supports healing, the cells in our body are able to renew and rejuvenate themselves. In addition, research studies have proven that restorative yoga can help people cope with serious illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

9. Just One Pose

In our hectic lives, there may be days when we have only 10 or 15 minutes available to squeeze in some stress reduction. Restorative yoga is perfect for this because one pose, held for 10 to 15 minutes, is enough to reset our stress response.

10. Emotional Healing

Emotions live and are stored in our bodies. By completely relaxing and surrendering our physical body in a restorative pose, the emotional body is invited to open up and release what it no longer needs to hold onto.

11. Inner Peace & Mindfulness

Restorative yoga provides a space for self reflection and meditation, allowing us to cultivate a deeper, more connected, and more satisfying place in our lives. Restorative yoga helps us focus on the present moment and creates greater self-awareness. This allows for improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory “off the mat”.

12. Supported Long Holds To Truly Reap Full Benefits Of The Poses

In an active yoga class, poses are moved through quickly, but in a restorative practice, the body is supported and remains in poses for long periods of time. This is where the magic happens, when the body is given the time and space to soak up all the benefits of each pose.

Fabienne Grossman is the owner of Weston Yoga, 2600 Glades Circle, Suite 400, Weston. For more information or to register, call 954-349-6868 or visit WestonYoga.com. See ad page 58.

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