Restorative yoga allows the body to completely relax, eliciting the relaxation response. When the body is in a state of relaxation, the immune systems becomes stronger, digestion improves and the circulatory, respiratory and lymphatic systems are all benefited. Restorative yoga uses props and blankets so the body is completely supported in positions that allow the muscles to relax and the mind to slow down. Restorative yoga can be practiced whenever the body is tense and wherever there is room to spread a yoga mat out on the floor.
How Restorative Yoga Works
Restorative yoga is the practice of supporting the body in various positions to allow the muscles to relax and the breath to move easily through the body. It is through these actions that relaxation response is activated, allowing heart rate to slow, circulation to increase, digestion to improve, and giving the immune system a boost. Most people live in a high stress state all the time, the breathing is shallow, the muscles are tense and unable to release. Using restorative yoga to help the body relax is a useful tool to counteract the effects of constant stress.
How Often to Practice Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga can be practiced whenever the body is feeling stressed or tired and in need of relaxation. However, the effects of restorative yoga are cumulative and the more it is practiced the more deeply the body can relax. One full practice per week or incorporating at least one restorative pose into a daily yoga practice is generally recommended as a good starting point. As the practice continues, the frequency can be adjusted depending on the needs of the body on a given day. For women, taking the first few days of menstruation to strictly practice restorative yoga can help to reduce cramping and other symptoms relating to the monthly cycle.
How to Practice Restorative Yoga
Many studios offer restorative yoga classes which are a good way to become comfortable moving in and out of the poses and proper use of props. There are also plenty of websites and books that offer guidance as to how to set up the poses and how long to stay in them. Restorative yoga is best practiced in a quiet room with low lighting and no distractions such as cell phone, computer or television. A scented candle or quiet, peaceful music can be used if desired.
The practice of restorative yoga boosts the immune system, improves digestion and supports the circulatory, respiratory and lymphatic system by allowing the body to move into a state of deep relaxation. Over time this practice can help to ease insomnia, lower stress and increase feelings of well being. Restorative poses can be practiced every day or whenever a feeling of deep relaxation is desired.