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  • Writer's pictureYogasite Team

Restorative Yoga. The power of relaxation.

Do you want more balance between action and relaxation in your life? Do you want to learn how to relax and recover deeply so that you can do what you think is important with full energy? Then get acquainted with restorative yoga: a nice and impactful form of yoga that helps with something extremely important: finding peace within yourself.


Wat is restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga is a calm, passive form of yoga. The name reflects literally what this form of yoga does: it helps you to relax deeply and thus gives your body the chance to recover. A restorative yoga session consists of a small number of reclining postures, in which you stay for a longer period of time. It is actually the most comfortable form of yoga because you can make yourself as comfortable as possible in the postures. A lot of time is spent on setting you up in the posture optimally, by supporting yourself as much as possible with blankets, bolsters, blocks and other props. Everything has the same aim: to relax as deeply as possible, so that you can completely surrender to the moment and let go.


What is the benefit of restorative yoga?

Because letting go is necessary. The world is always 'on'. Our days are filled to the brim with activities. We run from one thing to the next, filling up the remaining time with our phones. The pace is high. We all long for peace and relaxation, but we don't always find the time or opportunity to get it. In all that bustle and noise, it sometimes is quite difficult to keep feeling you. If your attention is always directed outward, you forget yourself. The outside world often easily drowns out your body's signals and your heart's voice. Sometimes you lose yourself a little because of that.


Restorative yoga invites you to reconnect with yourself. To disconnect from the outside world, retreat to your yoga mat and surrender to the moment. Because only when you let go and come to stillness, you can reconnect with yourself. Feel again what your body tells you. Hear your hearts soft voice speaking again. Restorative yoga, through deep physical relaxation, helps you to also discover the way back inside.


How does restorative yoga work in your body?

The poses in restorative yoga invite your body to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is important for recovery, relaxation and building up your body. It is the counterpart of the body's sympathetic nervous system, also known as the stress system.


Due to the busy society in which we live, most people have their stress system activated almost continuously. Often even without being aware of it. Restorative yoga helps your body to calm down and relax the stress system. This slows down your heartbeat, lowers your blood pressure and gives your organs more oxygen. Your body then can use its energy for recovery and construction again. In addition, restorative yoga helps you to deepen your breath, which in itself has many advantages.


After a session of restorative yoga, you may notice that you feel calmer and more relaxed. And that you have more energy. You may also experience less headache, pain or fatigue. Your concentration may be better afterwards. In this way, restorative yoga can also be a nice preparation for meditation. By calming and relaxing your mind and body, it becomes easier to stay in meditation posture for longer. This way you can go deeper into a meditative state and stay there longer. Restorative yoga and meditation are therefore often combined.


What is the difference between restorative yoga, yoga nidra and yin yoga?

All those different forms of yoga… they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. It's not surprising if you're confusing Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga fore the same thing. They are quite similar with regard to the calm character and the long duration of holding postures. But there are important differences between the yoga forms.


The most important difference is the purpose of the yoga forms. Yin Yoga focuses on stretching/relaxing the connective tissue in a specific area of your body, using your breath to breathe through resistance and relax. Restorative Yoga, on the other hand, has only one goal: complete relaxation. Therefore, nothing is stretched and also there's no need to breathe through resistance. It is a very good yoga form to choose when you need to recover from injuries, to give your body the necessary rest and relaxation, and to activate your body's self-healing capacities. Yoga Nidra, lastly, aims to bring the body into a deep state of relaxation while keeping your mind awake. This puts you in a deep state of meditation, in which stored stress from your subconscious might be cleared. In this way, a (short) session of Yoga Nidra has the same effect on your body and mind as a few hours of sleep.


The second obvious difference is the form of a session. In Yin Yoga, both lying and sitting postures are done and sometimes even a standing posture. Restorative Yoga consists of only lying postures, in which you are fully supported by blocks, bolsters and blankets so that you can relax fully in every part of your body. In a Yoga Nidra session, you lie in Savasana (corpse pose) during the entire session, without moving.


The Benefits of restorative yoga

In conclusion: restorative yoga is about relaxation, surrender and letting go. There are many benefits to practicing restorative yoga regularly:

  • You learn (again) how to consciously relax and deepen your breath;

  • You release fear and tension from your body and mind;

  • You activate your body's self-healing capacities, which means that your body can recover;

  • Your immune system and digestive system are given all the space they need to do their job properly;

  • You amplify the benefits of your meditation practice.

Restorative Yoga can help you to be more aware and relaxed in life outside your yoga mat.


Would you like to experience the pleasant and beneficial effects of restorative yoga yourself? Then join our restorative class on Tuesday evening. You can take the class both in the studio and online from the comfort of your own home.


Do you want to delve even more into (the benefits of) restorative yoga and meditation and dive right in? Yogasite also offers all four modules of the 100h Teacher Training 'Restorative Yoga & Meditation'. The training sessions are - spread over four weekends - provided by Veda Ela in our studio.


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