Is Restorative Yoga the New Power Yoga?
I recently read the most amazing article called Restorative Yoga is the New Power Yoga by Adrienne Sarise Baggs. Restorative Yoga is a style of yoga that I love to practice, and I have such a passion to teach and share its amazing benefits. We spend most of our lives doing, striving, trying, deciding, acting . . . the list could go on and on. Yet, very seldom do we balance this aspect of our lives with true rest, restoration, and simply being. Without something to counterbalance our “doings,” we get burnt-out, sick, injured, and fatigued. True rest brings balance to our active lives. Baggs reflects, “When I look back on those moments, I realize my central nervous system was in overdrive. I needed less pushing, less stretching, less muscle engagement, less effort. I needed a space where I could soften, surrender, open and rest.”
Why Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga not only balances our active yoga practice but also our active lives. Throughout our day, our spine supports us in all we do in every activity and movement we make. During a restorative yoga sequence, the spine is gently opened and supported in all directions of movement, allowing for a balance and restoration for all its hard work. When tension and holding are released in the spine, this release also occurs in the joints, muscles, nerves, and mind, bringing all the systems of the body into balance. Anybody at any stage or walk of life needs (deserves!) to feel well, balanced, and good. Bringing rest and calm to the physical, mental, and subtle body will not only allow you to feel better but can also help one heal and rejuvenate as well as release deep tensions and stress. Baggs shares, “I needed to be nurtured and I needed to feel safe. I started dabbling more in restorative work and slowly finding a soft place to fall. Every time I left class, I felt a little more normal and at the time, that was a huge relief.”
The Courage to Get Quiet
In this practice, looks can be deceiving. While it appears that you are just lying there, much more is happening. Some days you will glide into the release, allowing your body and mind to surrender to the posture and moment. Other days the mind may want to take you in different directions and the body may take a bit longer to let go, yet through practice the benefits will flow through all aspects of your being and help you thrive in your daily life. Baggs observes of the students attending her restorative class, “They are courageous enough to get quiet and potentially uncover physical and emotional states that are often masked by overbooked schedules and never-ending checklists.”
“Unclenching my Jaw and Softening my Belly”
While drastically different than our active yoga practice, it is just as important and beneficial for our health and wellness. My favorite part of the article is when Baggs describes her experience, “I’m practicing unclenching my jaw and softening my belly, so my body can teach my mind to stop. I’m practicing becoming aware of how I actually feel, so I know what I actually need. I’m practicing noticing what is and accepting it, not with the intention to give up but with the intention to be honest about what is happening in my life and move forward with more authenticity. And to me, that is some seriously power(ful) yoga.”