Restorative Yoga - a quiet practice
11/07/14 15:20 Author : Alice Chapman
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah.
Yoga is that which stills the mind. And with a still and quiet mind we can dwell, even in this world, in peace. There are a multitude of yoga styles, classes, teachers and ways of practicing out there, all with one united goal, to calm the drunken monkey of our minds, (or the chimpanzee in the cappuccino cafe).
Having recently studied on the Devon School of Yoga Postgraduate Teacher Training and Yoga Therapy course, it has been noted time and again the benefits of taking time to relax. There is a growing interest in yoga in recent years. As stress increases, free time becomes scarce and the spiral continues from there. I am reminded of the meditation master who instructs his students that if they cannot find 5 minutes in their day to sit still and meditate, then they need to find one hour.
Restorative Yoga is a practice of stillness, using supports such as bolsters, blankets, straps and blocks so that once in your chosen asana, you are supported and can stay for a longer time (sometimes up to 15 minutes) allowing the body to release deeply, trusting the props to hold your body position and allowing the muscles which would normally be integral in maintaining posture to let go. In this space the body is stretched but the muscles relaxed, this takes the effects of each asana to a profound level. Once the muscles relax the stretch begins to access the fascia or connective tissue, that which connects and supports muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels and nerves. It is within this tissue, which permeates the entire structure, that the meridians of eastern medicine lie, or the Nadi’s or energy channels in the yogic tradition: the lines of communication and support for the entire physical and energetic being. Working with the meridians we can release deep, long-standing tensions and unlock energetic patterns which lead to reaction as opposed to action or Samskaras. Taking time in each asana turns the practice into a meditation. Noticing how different physical positions affect the mind is a fascinating practice. Following the flow of the breath and breathing deeply employs the parasympathetic nervous system. We connect with restful intuition, peace in stillness, and it is there that we can find healing.
Allowing time to be in that space, remembering that the verb Asana comes from the root verb ‘to be’ is where yoga becomes therapy and the body remembers how it can heal itself.