Restorative classes and restorative poses have a reputation for being so yummy. They’re like the dessert of yoga. It sometimes makes you wonder: Can something that feels so nice be good for you?
Here are a few practical examples of how a restorative practice can benefit you mentally, emotionally, and physiologically.
1 Repairs the body and nervous system. The beautiful slow-motion pace of a restorative practice, coupled with an intimate experience with the breath, can help to drop us drop into what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system. This is when the fight-or-flight response deactivates and deep relaxation can engage. In this deep relaxation, our bodies experience natural detoxification and healing.
2 Increases body awareness. When we allow ourselves to go slow in our yoga practice, we learn how to tune in and really listen to what our bodies have to say. It’s like when you find yourself in a pose and you discover a muscle you’ve never felt before. In this space we can learn how to deepen our practice.
3 Enhances flexibility. It may not seem like a strong enough practice to gain flexibility, but with the use of props and going slowly into poses, the muscles are able to gradually and easily stretch.
4 Helps to lose weight. Even though you wouldn’t be looking to break a sweat in a restorative class, studies have shown that including a restorative class as part of your yoga routine helps to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that causes the body to store fats.
5 Healing emotionally. A restorative class is designed to make us feel safe. It’s like a very prolonged feeling of a Saturday morning in bed, and a day at the spa. When we allow ourselves this space to consciously treat ourselves, we honour who we are and how we feel. We find balance in our emotions and peace in our lives.