Sunday, March 24, 2013

Restorative Yoga

As I mentioned in my last post, I am trying to flex my yoga muscles again. Part of getting back into the swing of things has included trying out a new-to-me yoga studio.

After a very successful, Saturday morning Open class, I decided to rejuvenate myself with a Tuesday night Restorative class. The description on the Area Yoga website sounded like the perfect respite to a long midweek work day. 
"Restorative Yoga is a method in which one holds poses for longer lengths of time with the help of props in order to focus on relaxing and strengthening the muscles. This provides a meditative, slow practice allowing time to go deeper not only into the body, but into the restless mind."
I entered the studio as the teacher, Jenna, was lighting candles that set the class for relaxation. As students filtered in, Jenna let the class know of what props we would need for that class. For those who don't practice, props are equipment or tools used to deepen or strengthen a position. This class we used two bolsters (giant, firm pillows), three blankets and three blocks. We started the class with focused breathing, which eventually turned into alternate-breathing. I hope to touch on breathing at another point during March Un-Madness. I will let you know that I have felt uncomfortable doing alternate-breathing in the past but this time it helped invigorate me and set a flow for the class. Jenna's instructions on breathing were a guide throughout the whole class, which is something I really appreciate. I tend to forget to breath during yoga and like when a teacher helps the class along.

We flowed through three positions for the duration of the hour-and-ten-minute class, holding each position for a good amount of time. To be able to really allow my body and mind to sink into each position was truly restorative. My only problem was that I did not wear enough layers. Brrrr. I was thankful when the teacher came around and placed blankets over our legs and torso to keep the heat trapped. Jenna kept reminding us to let go of anything that wasn't working for us, whether physically or mentally, and I did just that.

We only did three positions but I was surprised by how quickly the class went. When we came up to sitting and gave a final "Ommmmmm", I was all like, what? That's it? I think thats a good sign that my body and mind needed this time to reset itself and probably could use much more. I left the class feeling rejuvenated and hope to incorporate it into my weekly routine.

Have you ever done a restorative class?

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