Dipa has been teaching our Sunday restorative yoga class at Yoga West for a few months, She has noticed an increase in people attending as they realise more and more the importance of slowing down in their practice. We asked her to share the benefits of this practice and how it can help and support your more dynamic practices of vinyasa and ashtanga:
Restorative yoga is not like other classes where students will move fast in a Vinyasa flow or a power Ashtanga.
Restorative yoga is a passive meditative yoga with emphasis on body awareness, relaxation and deep stretch.
When holding a pose for a long time, you are able to spend more time learning about your body; your strength, weaknesses, your deep fears but also what truly makes you happy.
This is crucial when practicing any discipline including Vinyasa as you will know better how to move your body in a safe and strong way. This is why both practices of Vinyasa and Restorative yoga work really well together.
For a beginner or someone with injury, restorative yoga is a good way to start learning. In restorative yoga classes, we slow down, opening and stretching the body using passive postures. In those poses, one muscle is active and one passive, the resistance of one enables the other to relax better. This is also valid in Vinyasa, you just have less time to understand as you are moving faster. The contemplative state during the practice helps you unwind and be in the present. You are still, your mind is still and you can finally feel a state of true presence.
Typically, when we suffer from stress, it is because we have “overdone it”. Restorative yoga supports the healing process of any ailment, allowing the mind and body to restore and heal by itself. I would recommend to alternate from vinyasa to restorative to have the best results. Your body may feel a bit stiff the next day after a strong vinyasa session, restorative yoga is the best way to unwind the body, keep your energy but also unlock it whilst still doing what you love the most. The benefits of restorative yoga are deep relaxation, body awareness, flexibility, reduced anxiety and mood swings, boost to the immune system.
A restorative yoga class usually has 5-8 yoga poses supported that are held for 10-15 minutes each. Most of these yoga poses are based on the practices of B.K.S. Iyengar who started it and involve gentle twists, back bends and inversions, using props to support full relaxation of mind and body. There are restorative yoga sequences for depression, insomnia, cancer, PMS, high blood pressure, stress and athletic injuries.
The restorative class is open to everyone whatever your age, physical conditions or state and more students are understanding the importance of a slow practice to allow space to receive, listen and be still.
Join Dipa every Sunday, 15:30 – 16:45 for a chance to feel the deeply nourishing benefits of this practice for yourself.