It’s understandable to think a proficient yogi is someone with a strong core and flexible spine, performing powerful arm balances and doing contortionist moves. If you Google ‘extreme Yoga’ you will find images of people with their legs over their shoulders and tying themselves in knots!
But the direction when deepening your practice is on going inward, not outward! So One for All Hot Yoga has decided to introduce some Restorative Yoga sessions with Jesse on Monday afternoons throughout February.
Restorative Yoga poses help to calm and reset the entire body and mind as a preparation for ultimate relaxation in an extended and fully supported Savasana.
If you haven’t heard of Restorative Yoga, imagine a class of just two or three poses such as a gentle twist, a seated forward fold or a gentle backbend followed by an extended Savasana, all supported by an arrangement of props designed to allow you to completely rest and relax.
Restorative Yoga gives you an opportunity to be passive, not active in your practice, so prepare yourself for deep relaxation. The use of props is a necessity in this type of practice in order to create a sense of safety and protection for the physical body to completely relax. You will also be invited to cocoon yourself in a blanket for extra warmth and cosiness.
Originating in the U.S., this creative adaptation of B.K.S. Iyengar’s style of Yoga was developed by Judith Lasater and has proven health benefits including significantly reducing blood pressure, most likely thanks to its ability to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.
The main difference between Restorative Yoga and Yin is that Restorative poses are held for much longer and they are not designed to give any particular sensation as they are in Yin. Whereas in Yin it is the practitioner who pretty much decides how to use the props based on the sensations they do or do not feel, in Restorative Yoga the teacher is trained to look at the student and suggest an arrangement of props or positioning that will help to make the poses more restorative. For this reason it is particularly beneficial for practitioners who need extra guidance due to injuries, stress or illness and for whom other styles of Yoga might not be suitable.
Why else might you want to do a Restorative practice? Restorative Yoga has a uniquely meditative quality that other posture-based Yoga systems do not. At One for All we do not have any meditation-only classes on the timetable as we know from experience that without chairs most people find sitting still for up to an hour excruciatingly painful around their sit-bones, knees and lower back. So rather than asking people to sit through discomfort, we are inviting those who are interested to experience what Jesse likes to call “horizontal meditation”.
Restorative Yoga assists in the integration of the five koshas, or ‘layers of life’, including the environmental, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. So when used as a vessel for journeying inward, it can guide you towards awakening to your own divine nature.
Restorative Yoga isn’t fashioned for wannabe acrobats, nor is it ‘lazy’ Yoga, it’s for anyone seeking deep relaxation, a calming of the nervous system and a restoration of the body and mind!