The Anand Menza Restorative Training is coming up February 2 – 4. This 20 hour training is for teachers, teacher trainees, and students interested in delving deeper into restorative yoga. Early bird discount available through Jan. 19. Click here for more information.
Restorative yoga has played a major role in releasing stress and tension is my life About fifteen years ago I had a bout of serious asthma attacks that were life changing. I was continually in and out of the hospital and on high levels of cortisone for an extended period of time that created a state of extreme anxiety. Restorative, helped calm my nervous system, release tension from my body and breath and release the fear of future attacks.
No amount of trying to talk myself out of it helped because my entire system was stuck in a heightened state of tension. I needed to learn to bypass my mind and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is exactly what restorative does.
The fast pace of modern life filled with its continuous stressors contributes to a low grade level of stress within us that we’re often unaware off. This manifests as a continuous state of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) arousal which leads to many modern day illnesses such as asthma, cancer, heart decease and other stress related disorders.
Restorative provides the prefect antidote to stress because it creates a supported pause. By completely supporting the body and being still for extended periods the breath, the mind and the nervous system begin to calm and recalibrate.
Different restorative poses can be used for different purposes though they all help to calm and quiet the nervous system. There are poses that open the breath and help lift our spirits when we’re feeling depressed, poses that are supportive and nurturing when we’re feeling anxious and poses that are more specific targeting specific parts of the body where tension accumulates.
Since our bodies store all our past experiences, when we let go of this holding in the physical body we often have strong emotional releases as suppressed emotions and past experiences locked in the body bubble up to the surface and release.
Another advantage of restorative is that it can be practiced by anyone.. People who aren’t able to practice asana, such as the elderly, physically challenged and injured can all reap the benefits of deep relaxation and energetic rebalancing.
A subtle body approach to restorative
Restorative comes from the Iyengar tradition with a focus on the physical body. As an ISHTA Yogiraj and a student of Alan Finger, it is not surprising that my focus has been on creating a more subtle body approach to restorative, integrating pranayama, visualization and kriya into restorative postures.
Restorative poses, simply by the length of time we stay in them, are a powerful way of tapping into the energetic body. The subtle body, consists of 72,000 energetic pathways, governed by seven major energetic centers (chakras) that run along the spine.. I’ve developed a method of balancing each of these chakras using specific restorative poses along with specific ISHTA pranayama, kriyas, mantras and visualizations to create balance.