If you're used to going to a gym or yoga studio to get your sweat on, a restorative yoga class may be surprising to you. It's more rest (see the root of the word restorative) than calorie burning.
Why bother? Well, the deep rest encouraged by restorative yoga can be just as healthy as boot camp exercises that drench your body with sweat. This is because a lot of the illnesses Canadians are plagued with are caused by stress. Always pushing ourselves to the limits can over-activate the adrenal glands in the body, potentially causing weight gain and encouraging illness.
Restorative yoga works on remembering how to be good at relaxing. This is a good place to put type A energy!
1. Comfy Clothing Required. As you will be moving only minimally in this class, make sure that you arrive in warm and comfortable yoga-friendly clothing. A wrap or comfortable sweater can keep you blanketed, as you may become hypersensitive to temperature as things slow down.
2. Props Are Your Friends. Do not be intimated by the amount of props or weird positions you may walk into when you come into the room. The teacher will often display the props that are needed at the front of the room. These can include bolsters, pillows, eye pillows, blocks and blankets. If there is nothing at the front of the room, wait until the teacher comes into the room and describes what will be used.
3. And So Is Your Teacher. She'll normally ask about injuries or if you're new to the practice. In case she doesn't, don't be shy to flag them down once you are in the first pose, or if you feel uncertain about anything. Teachers love to make people feel more comfortable – this is why they were drawn to teach restorative in the first place.
4. Be Patient With Yourself. With the support, ensure that you're feeling more of a release than a stretch. Feel the shape of that pose and allow yourself to get quiet. Work on managing your frustrations and practice self-healing.
As you leave the class, you'll likely notice that you feel more refreshed. You'll have reached a state of homeostatic function by pushing past the barrier of doing to get more acquainted with being.
Doing nothing can become your new healthy goal.