Have you tried restorative yoga, which stretches and strengthens the body with different methods? Restorative yoga, which you should definitely add to your exercise routine for your muscle health, can be done after heavy training or vinyasa, or you can practice it alone. Restorative yoga is ideal for relaxing your body and mind, especially after a busy day.
What is restorative yoga?
Restorative yoga, which creates an environment for introspection and awareness, is meditative. Staying in the pose for minutes, focusing on the breath, resting between poses and making slow transitions allows you to understand the mind and body. Restorative yoga, where you take deep and long breaths while staying relaxed in poses, activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system, which is activated when the body is inactive, lowers blood pressure and slows the heartbeat.
The difference between restorative yoga and yin yoga
You can think of restorative yoga, which comes from the yin yoga guru Iyengar school, as the version of yin yoga using tools. In restorative yoga; supportive tools such as pillows, blankets, belts are used and a wall or chair is utilised. All the tools used allow the body to leave itself comfortably in the space it is in. As in Yin yoga, you stay in the poses for an average of 3-4 minutes and breathing exercises are added to some poses. In restorative yoga, which is completely focused on relaxation, the alignment does not matter. The person can stay in the pose within his/her own limits, at the point where he/she feels comfortable.
What are the benefits of restorative yoga?
With the poses you support, your body aligns, stretches and posture disorders are greatly improved.
As you relax in the poses, the tensions in the body are recognised and it becomes easier to release these tensions.
Conditions such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia are taken under control.
The adrenaline secretion, which increases due to the flight-fight response that is always alert and activated, decreases and stress decreases.
Restorative yoga strengthens the circulatory, digestive and nervous system.
With the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, blood pressure decreases and heart rate slows down.
As a result of reduced stress and tension, it is easier to fall asleep.
Restorative yoga movements
1. Reclining butterfly pose
Place a thin pillow or a bolster along your spine on your mat under your rib cage. Lie on your back and place a yoga block under your head to support it or, if comfortable, let your neck fall back. Then bring the soles of your feet together and bring your feet closer to your groin, allowing your knees to become heavy on the floor.
Make sure that your legs are naturally spread to the sides to avoid any problems with your knees. In this pose, you can put your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your stomach, inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6 or 8 counts. This pose stretches the hips and groin. It relaxes the organs in the shadow of the abdomen and waist and supports the circulatory system.
2. Child pose
Place a pillow on your mat. Kneel in front of the pillow and leave your knees as far apart as you want. If you feel pain in your knees, you can place a blanket under them. Sit your hips on your heels and place your head on the pillow. Place your arms on the pillow. Drop all the weight of your body towards the floor. This pose relaxes the hips, ankles, lower back, neck and back and reduces fatigue.
3. Wall supported leg pose
Place your mat right next to the wall. Sit on your side at the base of the wall, make sure your hips are close to the wall, lift your legs up and rest them straight against the wall and lie on your back. Place a pillow under your head. Keep your arms on either side of your body and relax your shoulders. This pose relaxes tired feet and legs. The backs of the legs, chest and cervical vertebrae stretch and back pain is reduced.
4. Half bridge pose
Lie on your back on your mat and place the soles of your feet on the floor. Bring your feet close enough to touch your heels with your fingers. Lift your hips and place a hard pillow or block on the sacrum area and release all your weight. Keep your arms on either side of your body. This pose stretches your chest and spine. It is good for back and headaches, insomnia problems. It ensures healthy functioning of the digestive system.
5. Deep rest pose
While lying down in Shavasana, the last pose of each type of yoga, place a bolster under your knees. Cover a blanket to keep your body warm and place a lavender pillow over your eyes. After resting for about 10 minutes, you can practice breath work where you are. You can inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6 or 8 counts as in the reclining butterfly pose.
Do not forget to make the environment suitable!
During restorative yoga, do not forget to create a peaceful environment to deepen the feeling of comfort on the mental, spiritual and emotional levels. You can play calm music, use essential oils, scented candles or incense.