4 Reasons You Must Try Restorative Yoga
I remember the first time I tried restorative yoga over 10 years ago…I hated it! I was so uncomfortable in every way possible. I couldn’t quiet my mind. I couldn’t relax my body. I felt like I wasn’t “doing” anything. I ran out of that class thinking, “Never again!”
It wasn’t until I became a new mother that I realized I needed to find some way to relax if I was going to survive motherhood. I was exhausted, running on coffee and adrenaline, normally to wired to “nap when baby naps” and getting a good night’s sleep was laughable. So I gave restorative another go.
The first few classes were still uncomfortable. It was difficult to relax. I felt guilty about taking time for myself. My mind was still racing from one thought to the next. But I’ve realized that it is these moments of “uncomfortableness” that give us the greatest opportunity to dive deep into self-exploration.
Why can’t I let go completely?
Why can’t I quiet my mind?
Why can’t I give myself permission to relax?
What is restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga is a slow, grounding practice where postures might be held anywhere from 10 -15 minutes. You normally use a lot of props, such as bolsters, blankets, pillows and blocks to support your body and create an environment for passive stretching where your body (and hopefully mind) can enter into deep relaxation…which all of us mamas need!
Here below are 4 ways that restorative yoga has helped me in motherhood.
1. Everything is better when you are rested. Period.
Ask yourself the following:
When are you more productive? When taking breaks or pushing through the workload?
When are you more reactive? When well rested or when you’re tired?
When are you in a better mood? After you’ve rested or when you’re feeling drained?
When are you a more present parent? A better listener? Have more patience with your kids?
I think you get where I’m going with this.
2. Boost your energy
Part of the reason we are so exhausted is because in today’s productivity-obsessed world, more commonly than not, our sympathetic nervous system (a.k.a. fight or flight) is running the show. Even though the majority of our day-to-day activities aren’t life threatening, we tend to live in a half-stressed state due to business, rushing around, meeting deadlines and the constant “doing” of today’s society.
And this is exhausting! It completely drains our energy.
So when we practice restorative yoga we create a space which tells our body it is safe to rest, restore and digest which activates our parasympathetic nervous system (a.k.a. rest and digest). It is in this state that we are able to recharge our batteries and rejuvenate our bodies and minds!
3. Release stress and anxiety
The experience of stillness is profoundly healing…not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. Restorative yoga gives you the opportunity to meet your feelings, emotions, thoughts and memories with calmness and presence of mind.
I’m pretty sure we go through every feeling possible in one day of motherhood, but we don’t always give ourselves the chance to move through them.
The long holds help bring awareness to the places where you normally (and probably subconsciously) hold onto stress and it creates a safe space for you to explore letting go of tension, tightness and stored emotions throughout your body. I have found myself on various occasions feeling release from the postures and sometimes crying or laughing uncontrollably.
4. Deepen self-awareness
If I think back to my first restorative yoga experience, I struggled with simply “being” with myself (and sometimes I still do). But the more time I dedicate to this practice it teaches me to slow down, become more present, and learn that it is okay to just “be” and not alway “do”.
The more I practice the more I learn about myself,
the more I become aware of my habitual patterns,
the more I strengthen my ability to surrender and let go,
the more I accept myself,
the more I love myself.
Are you curious to see what restorative yoga can do for you?
Click here for a quick 20 minute restorative yoga class to help you slow down, fill your cup and leave you feeling revitalized and rejuvenated!
Happy practicing mama!