This blog was written by Carina Terra – yoga teacher at Spira Power Yoga
The general trend in modern-day yoga is toward more athletic styles. These dynamic styles are a very powerful antidote against the harmful effects of living a sedentary life. Personally, I can’t imagine my life without Vinyasa. Both my body and my mind get cranky really fast if I slack off and neglect my regular practice. However, as much as I love and need my Vinyasa, I also know that yoga is all about balancing opposites: in and out, up and down, front and back, active and passive, movement and stillness… In short, it is interplay between YIN and YANG energies. The athletic styles of yoga that are a cure to our sedentary habits are primarily Yang in nature. As such, they constitute only half of the yoga equation. The other half is comprised of yoga practices that are more Yin in nature, such as Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Yoga Nidra.
We are currently living at a time when most of our activities are Yang. Not only in our yoga practice, but our habits, work environment, and pace of life are all Yang as well. We eat while we drive, instead of taking the time to sit down and enjoy a meal. We work long hours and have little downtime, over stimulate ourselves with TV and social media and get less sleep than we need, etc. When the pace of life is fast, our minds move fast too. We get lost in rumination and worry too much, and our nervous system takes a beating. Chronic stress and stress-related imbalances (depression, anxiety etc.) are on the rise because we are lacking balance between Yin & Yang energies.
Restorative Yoga leads us toward a more recuperative experience, and has the amazing capacity to minimize the physical & mental symptoms that are related to the stress caused by the frantic speed of our modern way of living. However, despite its amazing benefits, this style is usually overshadowed by the higher visibility and popularity of the Yang styles. It is not uncommon for yogis to be unwilling to give Restorative a try based on the preconceived notion that, if the practice doesn’t involve sweating profusely, then there are no benefits to be gained. These assumptions keep a lot of students from experiencing a deeper state of relaxation that promotes a reboot of the mind-body operating system.
The sensations produced in the body during a restorative pose are a lot more subtle than the sensations we would experience if we practiced the same pose in a more active, Yang-like manner. Restorative Yoga is really not about big feelings or sensations — it is about experiencing SPACE. Poses are held for long periods of time to allow the body and mind to settle into their natural states, promoting physical, mental, and emotional relaxation… And that is when the magic of Restorative Yoga begins to happen.
We all need more restorative activities in our lives! I invite you to join Spira Power Yoga for our upcoming Restorative Yoga Workshop. You will develop a better understanding and appreciation for this introspective and healing practice if you give it a try. This course is for students of all levels, not just yoga teachers. I’m looking forward to sharing the hidden treasures of this amazing practice with you.
We also offer an extended Restorative Yoga Workshop or Restorative Yoga Teacher Training