Restorative Yoga seeks to achieve deep physical, mental and emotional healing through the use of props and asanas (poses). The props used in Restorative Yoga may be made from natural components or may be man-made. Props used may include: wooden blocks, sandbags, blocks of wood or different-colored bricks. The intention is to utilize all parts of the body in the treatment.
Restorative Yoga is a healing process that helps to refresh the mind and to reduce stress. There is no need to perform poses which are meant for the superficial benefit of relaxation. Each held for longer periods than in traditional yoga asana classes, usually using the assistance of props like folded blankets, to facilitate the body’s movement, to reduce stress, to relax, and more often to prepare mentally for pranayama (breathing). Through restorative yoga, we learn to pay attention to our breathing and slow it to a deeper level.
In terms of the study of Western Yoga, one would think of vinyasa, flow, open-throws, power, or flow as types of yoga. Vinyasa, by contrast, is a style of restorative yoga. Vinyasa means “with force” or “with exertion,” and that is what sets it apart. It uses meditative breathing techniques that are similar to those used in Iyengar, but it differs mainly in the level of focus.
Vinyasa restorative yoga is not a class; rather, it is a method of awakening and focusing oneself. This is also different from Iyengar, which is a style of restorative yoga where the emphasis is on being in constant motion. Vinyasa practitioners typically use props like blocks, ropes, straps, blankets, pillows, blocks, pillows, walls, ropes, or anything else they can find around the room. Some people even use folded blankets or folded bags to help position their body in poses.
There are many reasons why a student may choose to practice restorative yoga. One is to relieve muscle tension. Through this practice, muscles become stiffer and longer, but they do not stretch out. This gives muscles a chance to stretch and lengthen without the risk of injury. Many people who have pulled a muscle or tendon through the wrong pose find that with restorative yoga, the pain goes away almost immediately. This can be an important technique for people who are recovering from an injury or surgery.
Another reason why Vinyasa restorative yoga can be very effective is because of the props used. Since props are used, this makes the poses accessible to people with different abilities. For those who have difficulty using props or doing specific poses, this kind of practice will allow them to learn how to perform the poses without any props at all. Since these props are being used, people are less likely to feel discomfort and injuries. For those who experience pain, this method of practicing can be a good way to ease the pain without drugs or painful physical therapy.
As the body becomes accustomed to these poses, the number of repetitions or times that a pose is performed increases. After a period of time, students may find that they need to increase the repetitions of certain poses in order to get the full effect. Since these poses last only a few minutes each, it is very important to continue to do the exercise until the teacher asks that students take a break. Part of the process of learning these restorative yoga poses is learning when it is appropriate to stop. This is why it is so important to maintain proper posture during the duration of each pose.
Many types of yoga, including Vinyasa, Flow, Power, Hot Yoga, Power Chorda, and Restorative Yoga use props or blankets in order to create an overall flow or pattern within the poses. Students should be aware of how much room they have available to perform these types of restorative yoga styles. Once they become familiar with how to use props and blankets, they can easily change their styles to include these types of props.