What is Restorative Yoga?

This yoga practice is about slowing down and using lots of props to support and gently stretch the body. In a typical restorative practice only a few easy poses are done: a gentle chest opener, a mellow inversion, a twist, a fold, and nuances can stem from there to include inner thighs, groin, chest, shoulders, and leg lengthening postures to name just a few. In a restorative practice, the body is fully supported by using lots of props like bolsters, a mat, blocks, blankets, straps, and sandbags. Each pose usually lasts for 5 minutes or longer, depending on the length of the session, giving time to breathe and be, still, connecting the body, mind, and spirit.

Life is busy and full. With restorative yoga, we give ourselves time to rest and digest, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing ourselves to process and be with our experiences, perhaps shaping how we’d like to move forward.

Sometimes this practice can be challenging because we have nothing to distract ourselves from our thoughts, feelings, and emotions and this isn’t always comfortable; however, with the right guide, this yoga can be the key to moving on and forward in, and with life to live our fullest and best. Meditative techniques and opportunities can be given during the experience to stop the thought loop(s) that can hinder us, subconsciously: giving time and space for the body and mind to begin to unite and harmonize. In restorative yoga, we get to relax, ground ourselves, and begin to see from a higher perspective thus better able to move forward with courage, strength, flexibility, and resiliency.

The health benefits are many for slowing down, stretching, and meditating and include: improving immune function, digestion, fertility, detoxification and elimination, as well as reducing high blood pressure, stress, muscle tension, and general fatigue.

I offer a regular group Restorative Yoga practice in Redding, CA each week, workshops, and work with many private clients using this technique. For so many, this practice is the key they’ve been missing in their exercise routine and life, and they are surprised at how such a simple practice can bring such relief and happiness to their daily lives.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see you on the mat, soon!

xoxo

Who, what, when, why, where: Yoga, me, Bali

I recently was asked by one of the gyms where I teach to put into words my Bali yoga training experience: why I went, who I studied under, styles I received training in, and info about those styles. I just sent this off in an email and thought it would be something great to put on here as well. Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

Why I went:

I recently spent 3 and ½ weeks on the island of Bali where I received 200 hours of yoga teacher training from the Awakened Life School of Yoga based out of New York City. My goal was to deepen my understanding of yoga, the practice, the history, to refine my own personal practice, and to strengthen my ability as a teacher improving my skills, technique, cuing, sequencing, and adjusting. I have been teaching for Shasta Athletic Club since April of 2011 and have sought training from various instructors since to improve my teaching but felt the time had come to offer my students more.

Who I studied under:

The Awakened Life School of Yoga was founded by Liz Carey and Chris Sabido both yoga instructors themselves with successful careers as corporate coaches, mentors, and business owners who have studied meditation, counseling, and spiritual enrichment. They brought in 3 other experienced yoga instructors: Basil Jones, Gabrielle White-Wolf, and Joe Miller. These 3 regularly teach in NYC, own studios, advise and teach celebrities, appear on national television programs, write for print and online yoga and health publications, and travel the world teaching yoga and yoga teachers. The training and influences of these instructors includes a master’s degree in anatomy at Columbia University, a PhD in biomedical science, membership with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, yoga teacher training at the Om Center in NYC, certification in Feldenkrais and Sanskrit, with extensive practice under Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews, Tom Myers, Gil Hedley, Sean Corn, Sharon Gannon, David Life, David Swenson, Dena Kingsberg, Edward Clark, Alanna Kaivalya, Emil Endel, and Daniel Aaron.

Yoga styles I was trained in:

The bulk of my training was with Active Vinyasa Flow which has its roots in Hatha yoga. We also practiced and studied Slow Flow (a slowed version of Active Vinyasa), Restorative Yoga, breathing techniques (pranayama), and various meditation styles.

Info about styles:

Hatha is a Sanskrit word that means willful or forceful. Literally, “ha” means sun and “tha” means moon; symbolizing the balance that is inherent to the practice of Hatha yoga. This is a path towards creating balance and uniting opposites. Using our physical bodies we develop strength and flexibility while we learn to balance our effort with surrender in each pose. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas, poses, or postures), with the sequences of asanas designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones.

Vinyasa yoga uses the poses of Ashtanga yoga but links them to breath in a flowing, varying sequence. (Ashtanga yoga is a set series of postures that you adhere to each time you practice.) Active Vinyasa is a strong and fun class typically with upbeat music that begins with sun salutation poses, then moves to standing postures, balancing, seated and reclining postures, backbends, and core isolation and strengthening. Special emphasis is always placed on moving safely and correctly into proper alignment, using breath to move, and practicing quieting the mind to find and leave the class with more peace and calm.

Restorative yoga is a gentle healing form of Hatha yoga that is practiced with props to provide support for complete relaxation. Only 5-6 poses are practiced in an entire Restorative yoga class. These gentle poses create physiological responses that are beneficial to your health and can reduce the effects of stress and stress related illness. This is a slow class that is deeply nurturing and suitable for all ages. Breathing and meditation techniques are applied during the gentle, restorative poses that use bolsters, blankets, belts, blocks, and other props. A deep relaxation is gained helping bring the body into even more balance.

Image

Bali Yoga Video: Day 9

I’m feeling the effects of 2.5 hours of daily yoga asana! I’m looking forward to taking tomorrow off and observing the amazing Basil Jones from the other side of the yoga mat: the sidelines. It will be good for me to observe and really take in how he works. Ok, stop this serious business! My roommates and I are cracking up right now over French fries and chocolate cake (well they are anyway, I’m here with the computer having eaten a Greens+ Chocolate Energy Bar), laughing hysterically about all sorts of nonsense. We had a restorative yoga class tonight and I just kept laughing! It was hard to be “serious.” ☺

Well, the tiredness is returning. I need to go to bed. I hope you enjoy the video. I will try to get one in the day light soon!

Enjoy! Namaste.