What the world needs now is more restorative yoga! In a culture that fosters disease of busy-ness and chaos, stress is becoming the number one factor of poor health. By 2020, STRESS will be one of the top contributors to disability.
Our bodies are not meant to live in a stressful state 24/7. However, with the 24-hour news cycle and mass media attention, we are over stimulated and stressed more than ever. We go from one day to the next, never getting the rest we need and it takes a toll on our body, mind and Spirit.
I began my yoga practice with restorative yoga mainly because it sounded easy and because I was suffering from chronic back pain. I quickly learned that the pain I was experiencing for so long was coming from stress and emotional blocks. Holding in emotions became a breeding ground for stress to grow. Add in the day to day of family life and job and overtime I become a heavy armor walking around pretending to be human.
I wasn’t expecting to find the release I did from restorative yoga. It was instant. I slept better and found myself wanting to treat myself better. My outlook changed, which caused my habits to change. And now 10 years later I’m still on this journey of releasing.
So why Restorative Yoga?
Because it works!!!!! And it’s for everyBODY!!! Just one pose can take your body and mind into the relaxation response you won’t find during sleep. Here’s how it works:
Restorative yoga allows us to go deeper into our energetic and mental bodies because it creates the space for it. The body is supported by bolsters and blankets and within that cocoon of safety, our brain is given the gift of the relaxation response. In restorative yoga, we get to relax, melt, surrender and let go.
The stress that we encounter daily causes stress hormones to be released by the adrenal glands, heart rate and blood pressure both elevate, and muscle tension increases. It becomes even more problematic when stress becomes chronic, when we get used to “being stressed,” often a symptom of overscheduling that has become an unfortunate norm in our culture. This ongoing, stress wreaks havoc on our digestion, our ability to assimilate nutrients from our food, our immune system and our sleep cycles.
The relaxation response—our brain’s shift from “fight or flight” into “the parasympathetic state” helps us to counteract the toxic effects of stress by slowing our breathing rate, relaxing our muscles, reducing blood pressure and slowing down our brain wave patterns. Relaxing means resting deeply, one of our most basic needs, that is what restorative yoga is designed to help us to do. If we can allow the body and mind to relax, we naturally feel better and we have more clarity on all levels of being.
In Restorative Yoga our attention to the breath facilitates a feeling of release. Letting go of physical and mental tension and stress. The supported postures gently open the spine in all directions, which soothes the nervous system, energizes the subtle channel which houses the seven chakras, and nourishes the spine and all the muscles on the back body which often maintain stress-induced holding patterns. Internal organs are soothed and stimulated by the gentle poses which then soak the organs with fresh oxygenated blood. The benefits are endless. So why aren’t more people practicing Restorative Yoga?
I am often met with resistance when it comes to restorative yoga, especially by those who believe they should always be doing. I can relate as I am a recovering doer. However, what my practice has taught me is there is more to life than filling every moment with stuff to do. It’s an addiction. We are literally killing ourselves, body, mind and spirit through the disease of busyness.
I want to leave you with this thought. In the end, there is no prize for being the busiest. It’s not a competition like our culture would like you to believe. One upping your friends on who has more to do or who is more stressed or in more pain should not be our national past time. If your initial response to the question “How are you doing?” is “Oh my I’m so busy…” It’s time to really find out why and start to let go. To slow down and FEEL! And if you find this statement challenging… You need it the most!