Definition - What does Restorative Yoga mean?
Restorative yoga is a type of yoga known for its relaxing, calming and healing effect. It has its roots in the yoga of B.K.S. Iyengar, who developed a yoga that allows students to practice without any strain or pain. This was developed into a whole style of yoga which was considered ideal for those recovering from injuries or illnesses.
Restorative yoga became popular in the United States in the 1970s, mainly thanks to a yoga teacher, Judith Lasater, who was herself a student of Iyengar.
As well as being popular with students who are recovering from illness or injury, Restorative yoga is considered an ideal balance to hectic and stressful modern lifestyles.
Yogapedia explains Restorative Yoga
For Restorative yoga, the intention is to relax as far as possible into the postures, using as little physical effort as possible. The mind focuses on the breath in order to cultivate mindfulness and release tension from the body.
Restorative yoga classes tend to be relaxing and slow paced, with a whole sequence using as few as five or six postures which are held for long periods of time. Props are also used often in order to allow the body to be in the most comfortable, supported position possible. This may include bolsters, blankets, blocks and belts. Gentle music may be played, and the practice may be combined with guided meditation.
Restorative yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, regulates the blood pressure and relaxes the body. As such, Restorative yoga is considered particularly beneficial for those suffering from anxiety, insomnia or headaches, as well as other stress-related conditions.
Restorative yoga is believed to boost the immune system and accelerate the body's natural healing process.