If you walked into a restorative yoga class, you may be confused about what exactly you are seeing. Yogis lying on their mats, set up with props, eyes closed with peaceful looks seem way too easy for you. You wanted to feel the burn and check off some muscle points for the week but this class looks like they’re asleep. Active rest is where we allow ourselves to be so comfortable in a physical position that we can explore the uncomfortable process of roping in our mental attention. Often we move from one physical activity to another, the same action over and over like driving or watching TV that we don’t explore anything inside of our emotional and mental states. Restorative yoga gives us that time to think about that thing you’ve been meaning to deal with, to setting into an intention- developing patience, easing angry habits, letting go over embarrassing situations you love to hate to relive. It can be the bridge between moving from our daily automatic states to a place where we become more thoughtful creatures. It is where we learn to practice stillness.
When beginning a restorative practice is crucial to use the props around you. Initial set up is important to allow yourself to be focused once you’re comfortable. But if you don’t readjust when discomfort occurs, even if the practice has already started then mental attention is harder to develop. You’ll be thinking about that hip raised slightly higher than the other, that knee that feels stiff and stressed or the ponytail you should’ve removed. Your mind may float away from your intentions or it may float to the person adjusting on the mat in front of you but bringing yourself back to your breath can ease any guilt or anger about the distraction.
Adjust yourself before the practice the best you can then readjust yourself once your there if need be.
Make eye contact with the teacher and allow them to help.
Be patient with yourself and others.
Remember: It’s called practice for a reason.
Restorative Yoga has been known to unlock creative blocks, emotional patterns and hidden traumatic experiences. You connect to the inner self that lives within your automatic actions. You learn to explore what motivates and inspires you. It can solve insomnia by putting you in control of your restful states, allowing you to calm your nervous system. It helps resolve or prevent burnout from stress or over exercise. It is a great beginning place for anyone who wants to start a regular meditation practice. Moving physical positions every five minutes can support restlessness without encouraging more of it. It allows you to change position and readjust any physical discomforts and begin sinking your consciousness further into a restful, peaceful state making you more likely to begin and stick with a meditation practice that works for you.