Relax, Restore, Revive
Dear Norwich Yoga People,
I’m so happy to be able to connect with you again and offer some occasional content that might prove interesting or useful. With that in mind, I’ve decided to migrate away from MailChimp to Substack, I think the interface is really nice and offers a comments feature which means we can communicate in real-time. And, as before you, can opt-out at any time.
Ohm Sweet Ohm…
I am excited about teaching again in the studio. Happy Ohm feels like home, I’ve taught teacher training, classes and workshops there pretty much since it was opened by Julie Yew Crijns. However, since lockdown, I haven’t really taught anywhere apart from my spare room! so I’m really looking forward to seeing people on the mat again.
Since I took my Restorative training just before March 2020, this will be a chance to put all my learnings into practice. If you want to know more about the practice, read on!
Restorative yoga is great! Like floating on a giant fluffy cloud all tucked in under your favourite blanket… But what is it and where did it come from??? Are you sitting (lying down) comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Restorative yoga is a totally accessible yoga practice aimed at, well, everybody! By using props to support the body, (bolsters, blankets, blocks etc) Restorative yoga enables you (the practitioner) to be able to fully relax and let go of muscular effort and tension which switches the Parasympathetic nervous system on. But what is this Parasympathetic nervous system you talk of? I hear you ask…
The nervous system is comprised of two branches….. the Sympathetic (SNS) and the Parasympathetic…. (PNS). The SNS prepares us for emergencies like running or fighting, while PNS controls most of the internal organs, slows things down and is associated with rest and recuperation. The two systems act together either in fight or flight mode vs rest and digest
Stress and burnout typically happen when the body and immune system are overwhelmed and when the nervous system is working overtime i.e too much time spent in fight or flight mode. That feeling of ‘running on empty’ or like you’ve drunk a gallon of coffee each day. We’ve all been there, right?
Restorative yoga works to bring about a state of deep relaxation which stimulates the quieting aspects of the nervous system (resting, digesting, regulating metabolism) while reducing the activating parts. There are distinct conditions that facilitate this state of relaxation
Physical comfort or stillness
Being low to the ground (all postures are floor-based)
Lighting/Darkness (using eye pillows and keeping room lights dim)
Enough time (longer holds of up to ten minutes in a posture)
Restorative yoga is really an adaptation of the therapeutic work that Yoga master BKS Iyengar developed. He devised a way of using props that allowed people who were sick or had disabilities to be able to practice without discomfort. Senior student Judith Hanson Lasater later made the practice accessible to all and has trained many people to teach this wonderful method.
Restorative poses are poses of being rather than doing
Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD
Here’s my neighbour Nicola practising the art of chilling in a pose my friend Dina calls the ‘Deluxe’….. If you fancy giving it a go there are still spaces for my next Friday night session on March 18th at Happy Ohm. Book your bolster here.
Next time, I’ll show you how to set up some basic poses for yourself, using whatever you have around you.
All my love