Restorative Yoga: 5 Benefits

“To restore,” according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “to give back (someone or something that was lost or taken), to return (someone or something), to put or bring (something) back into existence or use, and to return (something) to an earlier or original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.”

Restorative Yoga is a way to give back something that was lost, unusable, or no longer in its original condition. Restorative Yoga is all about repairing and cleansing our bodies after years of constant damage and stress.

Restorative Yoga has five great benefits that we can give ourselves.

Aging Process Smoothed

Originally, we were all bright, shiny, and brand new. Over time, we have lost some of that glow. We are about 85% of water when we are babies. As we age, our water content decreases.

A process known as contracture also occurs constantly, and it shortens the ligaments at each joint and reduces their range of motion. Actin, which shortens ligaments and holds our body together as glue, causes contracture. This is why our knees feel tight after a long drive, and we enjoy stretching when we get up.

Restorative Yoga stretches connective tissues (skin and bones, ligaments and tendons, myofascial, and tendons) by holding postures for long periods. This helps to bring back fluidity in our lives.

Compliments to an Active Lifestyle

Restorative Yoga is the perfect complement to an active lifestyle, which includes activities that strengthen muscles, such as running, swimming, and weightlifting, to name just a few.

When the fascial tissue increases and becomes rigid, contracture is more severe. Restorative Yoga uses props such as bolsters and pillows to help the body’s weight to move the bones.

The “Relaxation Reaction”

According to Judith Hanson Lasater, a yoga teacher, “collapsing” is not relaxing. It involves falling under the stress of everyday life and moving constantly. Relaxation is about releasing tension and restoring equilibrium.

The “relaxation reaction” is composed of the calm down of the sympathetic nervous systems, which are responsible for the fight-or-flight response, and the stimulation of the parasympathetic system, or the rest and digestion response. The goal is activating a part of your body that is normally in the automatic nervous system, meaning it is mostly controlled without conscious thought. This is why you don’t have to focus constantly on your heart rate and digestion.

Restorative Yoga allows the body to rest, allowing it to focus on breathing. This helps to calm the nervous system, relax the muscles, bring the attention inward, and slow the breath.

Cultivating Emotional Regulation

It is a beautiful concept to be in the present moment and pause. However, it can sometimes seem elusive and hard to implement.

Even common events, such as driving through traffic and being late, can cause road rage and anxiety in people who are usually calm, present, and “go with it.”

“We as a culture are always in motion, like a car which only sees the red and green light. [!the!] Fight or Flight [!response!) Always running. Restorative [!! yoga!] The yellow light is the best way to slow down the body, build up the immune system, and relax the nervous system. It feels amazing.

Restorative Yoga allows the practitioner to release deep-rooted emotions like anger, anxiety, and frustration and find calm, flow, and presence in everyday situations such as driving through traffic or running late.

Let go of the Ego

This practice focuses on cultivating receptivity, surrender, and letting go of Ego. It is impossible to achieve or improve. Here is where you can let go of expectations, competition, and the need to change.

Restorative Yoga offers an alternative to struggling and becoming exhausted and depleted of energy. It allows you to take a pause, re-energize, and rejuvenate yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is difficult to hold various poses for 5-20 minutes, so Restorative Yoga involves surrendering and letting go.

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