Does your life feel like it is go go go all the time? Do you find that even sleep does not bring your body, mind and spirit back to a place of homeostasis? Do you struggle with the monkey mind? Are you recovering from an illness or injury and have fear of beginning to move the body again?
If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions perhaps an exploration into restorative yoga is worth a try.
Restorative yoga is a quiet practice. It is a practice that honours the body, mind and spirit. Restorative yoga brings us from that place of activity to receptivity. In restorative yoga props are used to support the body and to provide the ability for tension to melt away. This quiet practice permits us to delve deep into awareness of our physical bodies, emotional bodies, intellectual bodies and our spirits.
Restorative Yoga provides us refuge within ourselves from the chaotic world in which we live.
There is no match for the intelligence of the body. Rest. From Top of the Lake
My discovery of restorative yoga came as I moved through my own healing journey.
From a very young age I took on the role of caregiver. My parents separated when I was 5 years old, my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and struggled with parenting my sister and I, my father was diagnosed with MS and was managing his own illness. I grew up caring for those around me and wore the badge of being the strong one. This badge was deeply ingrained in me and I believed slowing down, caring for myself, or having emotions was a sign of weakness. As I entered into adulthood my career choice was again to care for others in the field of personal injury law. After years of “being strong” and caring for others I became sick and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I felt my life had ended.
My physical body was weakened and now I was weak emotionally. This was a lot for me to deal with and process. This physical illness I believe was an accumulation of all the experiences in my life that I never processed because I was “strong” and allowing emotions to surface was a sign of weakness. My physical body loudly let me know I could no longer carry on this way. My illness kept me from work, impacted my relationships, impacted my interactions with the world around me and most importantly impacted my relationship with myself. I know longer knew who I was because I was no longer strong.
Upon reflection and having been on this journey I realize I lived most of my life in a chronic state of stress and with an active sympathetic nervous system.
Sympathetic Nervous System
When the sympathetic nervous system is on, our brain/body believe we are in danger and our body mobilizes for the freeze, flight or fight response. The sympathetic nervous system controls the body’s response during any perceived threat and that threat can be stress. The heart rate increases, body become tense and adrenaline and cortisol is released into the body. The bodies non-critical functions shut down for “survival” such as our digestion, immune system, growth and repair of cells, elimination and reproduction.
At the time of my diagnosis I had no idea about our nervous system and I now realize living in a state of chronic stress created a weakened immune system which created space for the illness to invade my body.
My discovery of restorative yoga and learning about the nervous system was a gift of knowledge that I needed at the right time. Studies have shown restorative yoga is a practice that assists our bodies to access the parasympathetic nervous system.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
The parasympathetic nervous system is a place of rest and digest. When the body is resting in the parasympathetic nervous system our breath begins to calm; heart rate decreases, muscles relax, all bodily functions come back online and the innate healing in the body is activated.
My journey through health and my experiences with the healing effects of restorative yoga has taught me the importance to take the time to calm the body and the mind. I have learned rest and relaxation are not “dirty words” but necessities of life. I have also learned being vulnerable is not a weakness; it is in fact a great strength.
With this understanding, I am drawn to sharing restorative yoga with anyone and everyone through classes, workshops, teacher trainings as I believe more than ever the world needs restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga may be the hardest yoga practice you will ever undertake as it is a practice that quiets the mind and the body.
“Doing nothing being everything”Judith Lasater
It is an opportunity for you to completely let go of having to control what is going on. It is an opportunity to nourish yourself and to allow yourself to be nourished.
The idea of relinquishing control in a session may be too hard to consider; the idea you will be able to quiet your mind may be unfathomable. If this is your thought I invite you to start with baby steps. Start by trying to come back to your breath or perhaps a meditation to quiet the mind.
If you feel you are ready to step into a new experience, I invite you to access a meditation I have created to connect within yourself and let go of what is no longer serving you Here Try and let me know what you think.
If you want to dive deeper I am offering a 50hr Restorative Yoga Teacher Training course in January 2020 click Here for more details. You do not have to be a yoga teacher to sign up. If you just have a desire to learn more this is a great opportunity.
I also offer private classes that fit your schedule and your needs. These classes are designed just for you.
I would love to hear from you.