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Restorative Yoga Relieves Stress

By Lindsay Hernandez

BSW Columnist

Do you hit the ground running--albeit at times reluctantly--from the time your alarm goes off until you finally go to bed at night?  Restorative yoga can help you experience relief from the physical and mental stress of life.  In my previous column, I briefly discussed the Restorative, Yin, Vinyasa, and Asthanga styles of yoga.  This article will give you a better understanding of the Restorative style.

Restorative yoga is great for all levels, whether you are a beginner, an athlete, and even if you are looking to ease the pain from an injury.  Because restorative classes are relaxing and at a slow pace, they are an excellent choice if you are new to yoga. Furthermore, this style of yoga centers on calming your body and mind, with the use of props, to allow you to be in complete control according to your desired level of intensity.  You can also utilize restorative yoga to incorporate deep stretching.

If you were new to my classes, I would tell you to expect a comfortable, relaxing class, with all postures taking place while seated or lying down.  My husband enjoys my restorative classes because not only do they supplement his calisthenics and weight training, they also give him time to clear his mind, and he often falls asleep!

Because many of us live, work, and train in environments that can be physically and/or mentally taxing, we often store tension in areas such as shoulders, lower back, and hips.  This tension is further compounded for those of us who participate in sports and other types of physical training.  Restorative yoga teaches you to learn to be conscious of where and how we store this tension, and how to counteract and release it with gentle stretching and relaxation.  The end result can be a calmer, quieter mind, and possibly even approaching the demands of life with increased awareness and patience.

Stress is very real and mental stress can have an adverse affect on your body.  Restorative yoga helps alleviate stress and the benefits can be profound when practiced regularly.  Give your body what it needs, and you will find this is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.

Lindsay Hernandez is a local, certified yoga instructor.  For questions, comments, or a free yoga assessment, write Lindsay at lindsay@yogatennessee.com or call her at 615-378-5532.