Restorative Yoga is the practice of asanas, each held for longer than in conventional classes, often with the support of props such as folded blankets, pillows, straps, etc. to relax the body.
A restorative yoga sequence typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends. Most restorative practices are based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar.
In restorative yoga we are working on centering of your breath and body, calming the body and mind in order to be wholly present. It is done by aligning the physical and mental by practicing stillness or gentle movement for extended periods of time. The props assist in helping you to hold poses longer.
At first, for many of our clients restorative yoga is not their natural speed or 'workout' of choice as it is out of their cmfort zone. Having the patience and perseverance to try stillness and stick with it is challenging for many of us these days. Stillness is hard and many people are sceptic towards using their valuable time for staying still instead of a challenging workout.
It is important to recognise that restorative yoga, as well as other disciplines of yoga and the martial arts, allows us room to see clearly, find our natural state, and to heal. The stillness creates room in us so that we can keep going and doing all the more challenging things in our lives.
You will probably find that this is an 'exercise' class where your body was less challenged and my mind more challenged. However, it is the willpower that gets truly challenged as you need to sit with the gradual discomfort building up as you sit or lie in a position for and extended period of time simply breathing through it.
While you may not feel exhausted or physically challenged after the class or session, notice how you sleep that night.