Why We Need Restorative Yoga

  • by

Eight years ago, I took my husband to a Yin and Restorative Yoga class. He was angry with me later for boring him for an hour. We were twenty-five, physically healthy, and were pretty stress free. He rarely stayed past five at work, I was home every night to cook dinner, and our rent hadn’t gone up in three years. We didn’t even have a dog yet.

Fast-forward three years, and we found ourselves in a very different position: we had a new mortgage (along with a house and yard that needed tending), he rarely left work before six, we were sorting out the legal details of a hit-and-run accident that totaled my car, I was newly diagnosed with a medical condition that sure wasn’t cheap or easy to treat, and we did have that dog.*

Whatever we thought “stress” was before January of 2013, we soon learned a whole new definition. As part of my treatment plan, I was not allowed to elevate my heart rate or tax my muscles. This was a hard prognosis for a yoga teacher, soccer coach, and overall active human. I was beat down physically and emotionally, and it was then that I turned on a Restorative Yoga class on my computer.

I practiced Restorative every day for about six months. Nothing about it was boring. Everything about it was expansive, necessary, and healing. Even once I was cleared to start my Yang practice again, I continued Restorative on a regular basis. These days, a Restorative Yoga class is the best gift I can imagine giving myself. It’s better than a massage. It’s better than a cup of coffee. It’s indulgent, rich, informative, and – in one word – it is home.

If you’ve practiced Restorative, you probably already know these effects. If not, let me tell you about why this style of yoga is so instrumental in our healing:

  • We have two separate and distinct nervous systems. One is responsible for heightening our awareness and quickening our body’s reflexes. The other is responsible for repairing the damage done by the first. You probably know this by now, as the parasympathetic nervous system is getting more and more attention. And it’s a good thing! For decades, we have thought that wellness meant getting moving faster, sweating more, taxing ourselves as much as possible. Now, we know there is another critical element.
  • Restorative Yoga is clinically proven to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system. It reduces cortisol levels in our saliva, increases GABA in our brains, reduces blood pressure, slows response to stimuli, and precipitates healing from illness and injury.
  • Sleep can do all the things Restorative Yoga can do; unfortunately, far too many of us have disrupted and ineffective sleep. Restorative Yoga can not only provide these benefits during class but also help us restore natural sleep cycles, promoting more restful rest.

As part of our commitment to your total health, we don’t offer super active classes late at night. Even though we know some people like to get their sweat on after 8pm, we fully believe it’s best to start promoting downward moving energy at this time. For this reason, our late evening classes already steer you toward relaxation. And now, you’ll be guided even more fully in that direction with Safe Harbor RESTORE, our rest-only class every Sunday night.

Join Ashley from 6-7:15pm to unwind, treat yourself kindly, and clear out your brain fog prior to facing the week ahead.

*And we love him. You guys have met Flapjack … he’s worth the extra work!