I’ve gotten some questions about restorative yoga, and I thought you might have some too, so here goes….
What is Restorative Yoga?
Technically, by it’s very nature, all yoga should be restoring. As in, practicing yoga restores your connection to yourself and the divinity within. However, not all yoga has this effect on people. It all depends on how you practice.
Yoga is experiential. It’s a verb and a noun. Yoga is a practice (you do something), and it is also a state of being (you experience something). So you just have to try it.
Is it relaxing?
This question is hard to answer. There are some poses where bolsters/blankets and other props are placed to support you while you completely let go and relax.
Some “restorative” yoga practices have a carefully constructed sequence of poses that start with a certain amount of physical activity and intensity, requiring clear focus and concentration. Then, with each pose comes a little more mental quiet until the end where your mind is drawn completely inward as you rest in Savasana.
It’s important to know that restorative yoga is not “sleepy” or “massage-like” — at least the way I teach it.
Is restorative yoga appropriate for any level student?
As with any kind of specific type of practice, it depends. The sequence can be designed specifically for people with absolutely no experience, people who are dealing with a specific concern (like healing from illness or balancing hormones, etc.). Or it can be designed for those with more experience with poses like Headstand, Full Arm Balance, longer holdings of certain standing poses. A long Shoulderstand is probably not going to create a peaceful and quiet mind if you are a beginner. And a 5-minute holding of Headstand is definitely not appropriate if you haven’t already been practicing. If you are new to yoga or new to Iyengar Yoga, you should check with a teacher before you come to a restorative class. You want to set yourself up to have a good experience.
What if I come to a restorative class and there are poses I haven’t learned yet?
Don’t worry. Iyengar Yoga teachers are skilled at working with people of all levels of experience. We know how to meet you where you are, and guide you. We can give you alternatives for those poses. You need to let the teacher know if there is something new for you.
Still, if you are a newer student and unsure, ask the teacher. Especially if you are brand-new to yoga or brand-new to Iyengar Yoga.
Why does everyone talk about loving restorative yoga so much?
Of course, when we love something we want to let other people know about it!
There is a lot to love about practicing the poses in a way that leads from a scattered mind to a very quiet state. However, not everyone will like restorative yoga. (Not everyone loves almond milk, but some people want only cow’s milk). Yoga practice is experiential, so the only way is to try it).
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about restorative yoga!