I hope you’re ready to rest, relax, and breathe because that’s exactly what restorative yoga is all about! We're on a mission to slow WAY down.
Restorative yoga is, simply put, restorative. It's quite different than traditional yoga in that we take on more of a BE-ing role and less of a DO-ing role. Meaning, we hold poses for a longer period of time, practice fewer poses in a class, and find ourselves in stillness more often than movement.
According to the book Restorative Yoga for Life by Gail Boorstein Grossman, restorative yoga as a practice first began from a need to find therapeutic poses to help the body heal and restore physically. That’s the main reason I was drawn to restorative yoga -- it's a healing practice at heart and I was in a season of healing.
If you’ve never done restorative yoga before, the practice will likely be challenging in all the ways you wouldn’t expect. As in, it won’t necessarily tax your body (though it might and that's okay) but it will likely tax your tolerance for stillness. And that too can be incredibly uncomfortable, right? Restorative yoga is not designed to increase your heart rate, push your muscles to the brink, or help you find your physical edge. On the other hand, it probably will help you find your mental limit and any places for growth.
That's because we hold poses for anywhere from a couple of minutes all the way up to twenty and beyond. We are on a mission to help the body feel deeply and completely supported so that we can release tension and let go.
Restorative yoga is a practice that's generally great for someone who...
Would you say you make dietary changes and adopt healthy lifestyle practices out of LOVE? Because it feels good, because you want to honor your body and feel good in this present moment?
Or, would you say you make those changes more so out of FEAR? To avoid pain, to "guarantee" survival, to control body shape, size, or function?
This is important because taking action out of fear may not only lead to situations that are not necessarily in our best interest (like deciding it's better to *not* eat than risk eating something off-plan) but also because that fear itself can put the body in a chronic state of stress.
That's why I'm talking about this + when motivation can backfire on the Insatiable podcast with Ali Shapiro! We're discussing how to discern between fear-based motivation and genuine inspiration when it comes to making healthy choices.
In this episode, Ali and I dish on:
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How do we optimize the body for health and healing?
How come some people don't feel better *even when* doing everything right?
These are the questions I sought to answer through what I now call The Restorative Method. I wanted to address why some of us might struggle to get well (without pointing the finger at willpower or discipline) and see if I could better break down how to incorporate "self-care" or natural healing remedies with a greater chance of success.
Because what I've learned is that our tactics aren't necessarily the problem. It’s not that there’s some health secret we just haven’t found out or been told about yet. It’s not necessarily that we need to try one more thing or be more committed *that much more* to health and healing. Instead, what I've found is that we're not asking the right question nor focusing on the right result in the first place.
We don't want to ask... "Why didn't this work for me?" ... but rather... "Did this even have the opportunity to work for me?" So that before we tweak our tools, we first assess their efficacy. Which means it's not just about asking... "Did this tool help me feel better? ... but first it's about asking... "Did this tool ACTUALLY reduce the stress on my body?"
Here's what I mean.