Restore with Yoga

Living is Los Angeles has made me a specialist of Restorative Yoga. I use Restorative Yoga to balance the go-go-go energy I feel from the city. Restorative Yoga is slow and still; we use gravity and yoga props to set us up in the postures. It's a practice of less doing and more being.


What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative Yoga is a selection of yoga postures, many include props to help students explore deep relaxation, stillness, inner peace as well as many physical benefits. When we use progressive restorative yoga postures the body, mind, and spirit are given the message to let go deeply held tension. Restorative yoga may have the appearance of looking easy however beneath the body’s surface is where the advance practice is taking place in the art of relaxation. It’s challenging to be still. It’s hard work to let go of tension patterns. It’s courageous to disengage the fight or flight response that gives us a type of “high”. It’s fearless to cultivate a deeper understanding of the mind. Indeed Restorative Yoga is complex, delicate, and profound.

May be our antidote to stress?

Stress can make us sick. Unfortunately, most of us suffer from chronic stress. This stress compromises our health and wellbeing increasing our chances of ulcers, high blood pressure, back pain, immune dysfunction, reproductive problems, and depression. These conditions cause more stress and so the cycle continues. The obvious antidote to stress is relaxation. To relax is to rest and rest is different from sleeping. Relaxation is a state of stillness, quietness, and effortlessness while remaining somewhat conscious. Restorative yoga poses puts the body in a position that invites the student to relax. You may feel yourself fighting the invitation but as soon as you surrender to the posture you move towards homeostasis or balance.

What does Restorative Yoga target?

Restorative yoga targets the spine. In traditional medicine it is taught that the health of our spine enhances our well-being. We practice back bends, forward bends, side bends and twists. Also we practice inversions in restorative yoga to help our circulation and enhance heart function. When we invert the fluid accumulated in our legs from sitting and standing all day drains and give us more energy and vitality. In restorative yoga we focus on abdominal breathing, which massages our organs and tones our abdominal muscles. Restorative Yoga helps us eliminate wastes and toxins that accumulate in the abdomen so there’s room for new blood and oxygen. 

Learning to relax is at the heart of living well, but opening your life to include regular restorative practice is a challenge. It may be difficult to find the time in your busy schedule. Sometimes your practice will not be satisfying, and you’ll wonder what good it’s doing. Your mind will protest that you’re wasting your time when there is so much else to be done. It is at these moments when it is most important to continue. Consider your practice an experiment that you carry out with the finest instruments at your command: your body, your breath, and your mind.
— Judith Lasater, PhD., P.T.
Rachel Skinner