By Jacci Gruninger, MS, CIAYT, ERYT500 

Life might seem a little slower at the moment with the COVID-19 virus and many people working from home. However, word on the street is that our nervous systems are in overdrive. The perfect solution to calm the nervous system is the practice of restorative yoga.  

Restorative yoga is about slowing down, being supported and turning inside. There isn’t much movement in a restorative yoga class and students are often instructed to calm the mind with breathing techniques, use of words or mantras and hand gestures. All this in an effort to calm the sympathetic nervous system.

Even without Covid happening, we are a go-go-go society. What most of us need is slow, slow, slow, STOP! Restorative Yoga is a completely different form of yoga that is accessible to almost all individuals and perfect for those who are stressed, overworked and tired. It’s also good for the athlete who is looking to relax tight or overworked muscles.

Stillness, softness and rest are powerful.  Restorative Yoga taps into all three.  

Props, Props, Props
Most restorative yoga is done in a prone, supine or seated position. All restorative poses involve supporting the body with various yoga props. There shouldn’t ever be a big stretch or even a small stretch if the body is fully propped. It’s all about relaxing completely.

It’s best to have a number of props for restorative yoga.  Consider having on hand the following:  yoga mat, 2 yoga blankets, 2-3 yoga blocks, 1 yoga bolster, 1 8ft yoga strap.  If you don’t have these items you can still participate in class, check out our “No Props, No Problem” video for how to replace yoga props with items from your house.

What to Expect
It might take a few classes to get the hang of it, but deep rest is the result of a restorative yoga class. However, like anything new, it can take a few tries, mostly because our minds get in our way. That is one of the reasons to use breathing practices and mantra to keep the mind engaged.

As the body relaxes, it also cools. It’s a good idea to dress warmly for restorative yoga – socks, comfy sweatshirt, and even an extra blanket nearby can make the experience even more enjoyable.

Poses are held for 3-15 minutes. It sounds like a long time, but when you are supported it’s easy to relax into the postures and just be there. You might even find you take a short nap. Restorative yoga is accessing your rest and digest systems and putting you into a parasympathetic state.

The extensive set-ups can be a little daunting at first, but over time they become familiar. With practice, your body will also become familiar with the poses and move more quickly and deeply into the poses.

At Home Yoga is offering two restorative yoga classes a week for your relaxation – Tuesdays at 4:30pm with Amy and Fridays at 9:30am with Jacci. Hope to see you there.

Click HERE for the At Home Schedule.