~ Deb Phelps, C.MI, MMT, RYT – Owner and Instructor of Meditate Madison
By Gopi Rao
What is the true purpose of restorative yoga? If you are someone who suffers from constant fatigue and illness, then restorative Yoga might be for you. Restorative Yoga will help you relax completely which will boost your immune system. It is a great stress reliever for those times in your life when you are pushed to your limits.
This type of Yoga also uses props, such as blankets, straps, pillows, blocks, bolsters, walls, stools, chairs, or a mat, to support the body, which will allow you to hold poses longer. This eliminates unnecessary straining. It is believed that the more support your body is given, the more peaceful and restful you will be during and after your Yoga practice. As you begin practicing restorative Yoga, you will be able to drop into a place of great contentment.
There are many benefits from the deep restfulness that comes from restorative Yoga. Some of the believed benefits are lowered blood pressure, a balancing of serum triglycerides and blood sugar, an increase in good cholesterol, improved digestive functions, reduction of muscle tension, increased restful sleep and reduction in fatigue.
Restorative Yoga is also believed to improve fertility. At this time, many different medical studies are taking place to evaluate the therapeutic forms of Yoga. Restorative Yoga is definitely classified as a therapeutic form of Yoga.
The purpose of restorative Yoga is designed to provide support and help the body to relax during asana practice. This is often referred to as active relaxation. The poses also move the spinal column in all directions which goes along with the ancient principle of physical Yoga – the belief that a healthy spine promotes well-being.
When it comes to props, you should use whatever is needed to give your body the most support. That is one of the main the purposes of restorative Yoga. It is believed that the longer you can hold a posture, the more relaxed you will become.
You should also take the time to adjust your props so that you are comfortable. If a prop is out of place, you are out of alignment during your restorative Yoga session which defeats the purpose of what you are trying to accomplish. The purpose of restorative Yoga is the same as Hatha Yoga. However, the use of props makes it more “user friendly.”
Here are three Yoga poses for relaxation and restoration:
• The first one is the simple supported back bend. This pose stretches the lower middle back and opens the chest and shoulders and is good for relieving stress.
• Another posture is viparita karani. The purpose of this pose is gentle inversion.
• The third pose is the supported pasichimottanasana or forward bend. This pose is good for those who have lower back problems or tight hamstrings. It opens the leg muscles and stretches the back. It is a great resting position.
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