{by Tiffany Howes}

At the end of most of my classes I say something along the lines of  “I’m happy to talk to you about what we just did, or about anything else.” I, very much, mean it when I say that; It’s helpful to hear about students’ experiences &/or questions.

So I was excited when recently, after a Restorative Yoga class, a student approached me to ask how I would describe the differences between a “regular” yoga practice and a restorative yoga practice. Such a great question! One that I typically don’t delve too far into right before students (who are often in a Restorative class to release and relax) are about to practice, but one that could be helpful to learn more about.  

Here’s what I had to say (& some thoughts that have come to me since that conversation):

Supta Baddha Konasana

Restorative Yoga is different than most other yoga practices in that, instead of supporting your own body in active poses, your body is supported by a variety of props that encourage you to let go of all effort. Rather than building physical strength, restorative yoga postures can provide a reset to the body by allowing it to be held effortlessly.

The slowed pace and supported postures can help to bring the nervous system into parasympathetic mode which allows for rest, digestion, repair, as well as slowed heart rate and breath. Many of our day to day lives keeps our nervous systems in sympathetic mode (fight, flight, focus); most of us could benefit from more time resting, digesting and repairing.

Restorative Yoga can be great when you are feeling tired, weak or stressed from your daily activities. It can also be helpful during/surrounding major life events or transitions, or when recovering from injury.

(This post only skims the surface and is intended as a starting point. There are many resources online or in print about Restorative Yoga and its effects on the nervous system &/or pose suggestions. One that I return to often: Relax & Renew by Judith Lasater.)

Hope to see you in class soon!

Tiffany Howes

Tiffany teaches Restorative Yoga on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30pm. She also teaches Gentle Practice, an introspective yoga class that arcs between easeful exploration, gentle movement and supported postures, on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8:30pm. Save your spot here.

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