Stress has as much effect on our body and mind as does the food and products we consume. In fact, stress is the bottom line. If you address the gut rot, microbiome, nutritional deficiencies, toxins and lifestyle habits but don’t manage your stress you are missing a big piece of the pie in terms of achieving optimal health.
One thing we know for sure is that when your body is racing so is your mind. In our never stop, going all the time lifestyle the physical, mental and spiritual become imbalanced-out of whack. Relaxation, in the form of being still and aware, bring balance back. Unlike other forms of relaxation, like reading a book or plopping yourself in front of the television, real relaxation works at a deeper level in much the same way meditation works. It allows the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in resulting in certain mental and physiological responses to occur.
Restorative yoga is a practice that can benefit everyone. It is a type of relaxation that focuses on using props to support your body in passive stretches that allow your body to soften and let go. By slowing down your body your brain slows down too.
1. Full and deep stretches that allow your body to soften letting go of tension and tight muscles.
2. Poses that can benefit your entire body due to improved respiratory and blood circulation. Even internal organs are affected. Practices can be geared to healing particular health issues.
3. You becoming aware of habitual tension you may not even know you are carrying. Alignment issues that may be causing you pain are highlighted. Self awareness is a huge benefit of this practice.
4. Relaxing muscles to help with pain management.
5. Poses allow for exploration of the breath.
6. Balancing your nervous system that allows for renewal and rejuvenation.
7. Quieting the mind allowing you to drop into a place of stillness and enjoy being in the present moment.
8. A drop in cortisol levels due to the practice resulting in weight lose.
9. Better sleep results due to parasympathetic engagement.
10. Getting into a deep state of relaxation which is necessary to speed up the healing process after illness or trauma. It is a practice available to you if you are exhausted or feeling weak.
11. Improving your immune system.
12. Self-care, an opportunity to put yourself first and heal emotional injuries.
13. A great bridge from your yoga practice to meditation.
14. Most restorative yoga poses are easy to do. Variations are available and can be done anywhere. Props are used in class but pillows and blankets work for a home practice.
Restorative yoga is a real treat for the body and mind. It is like going on a holiday without the hassle or stress of travelling. A class is great but even 20 minutes at home will lead you to bliss.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.