How to Restore Your Health with Restorative Yoga
Legs Up the Wall Pose:
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Getting Rid of Anxiety and Stress
We have, as a society, done a smashing job of stressing ourselves out. Don’t you think?
How often have you felt the anxiety of overwhelm, or a desire to retreat into a cave until all the things-that-must-be-done magically take care of themselves?
Ask any doctor, Western or otherwise, and they’ll tell you that stress influences all disease. It may be the only thing they agree on, but health practitioners recognize the danger this pressure poses to the balance of the human body.
Okay, so you know this already. Good. That means you are in the position to do something about it. You probably already know how good yoga and meditation are for relieving stress and anxiety.
But I’ll let you in on a deeper knowing…
The most profound healing occurs when you re-connect with your own natural pulsation.
When your heart rate, your breath, your hormonal cycles and so on are all in balance, your body heals itself. If you use the methods of yoga -breath, movement, mindfulness and relaxation - in optimal alignment, you create the environment for healing and bring these cycles into balance.
This is why yoga and meditation work so well.
Restorative Chest Opener
How Restorative Yoga Can Help Your Health
This example might help you understand better:
Before I was a full-time mom, I offered private yoga therapy sessions. One of my clients was a beautiful woman who has suffered from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Let's call her Brianne.
Just like Brianne, many people suffer from a wide range of conditions that come when the body, mind, and emotions have reached their limit of anxiety and stress, basically getting to the point of system shut-down.
The resting heart rate is high, but energy is low. Things feel difficult and fragile.
When Brianne first came to me, she looked at me through hollowed eyes. She was stiff and achy, often gripped with anxiety despite the medications she took to prevent it. The slightest exertion would tire her, in fact her doctor thought yoga would be far too much for her.
Supported Child's Pose
Adjusting the Resting Heartrate
What did we do? Using primarily restorative yoga, focus on the breath, meditative visualization, and very deliberate, short periods of strength building followed by relaxation, we brought her back into her natural pulsation.
It looked like this:
- Center in, set intention
- Warm up with moderately strenuous exercise (3-5 min)
- Relax deeply in restorative pose (10-15 min)
- Do a few strong yoga poses (3-5 min)
- Another restorative pose (10-15 min)
- Another short round of challenging yoga
- Finish with restorative, generally Legs up the Wall pose, and savasana.
We did meditation during each restorative segment. The whole point of this approach is for the heart rate to be varied, so bring it up, then bring it down to a relaxed place of rest.
You can re-teach your heart rate how to speed up when appropriate, and how to slow down when you're resting. This creates healing, and lowers stress.
Brianne lowered her amount of medication, was able to do more physical activity, and looked so much brighter. She said that, out of all the myriad things she’s done (and she tried everything she could), our yoga sessions were the most helpful. Even her family told her she looked like a new woman. She recovered to the point where she could attend my challenging yoga classes!
When you turn your awareness to your breath, you honour and connect with the natural pulsation of your body. By meditating and doing yoga in mindful awareness of your breath, your heartbeat, hormones, and natural cycles remember their rhythm.
You re-discover (again and again) your true state of peace and the joy that it brings.
It’s wonderful how many different styles of yoga there are, just as there are infinite paths for each of us to experience life. If you are dealing with high stress levels, chronic conditions or anxiety, you may consider Restorative Yoga, which is also helpful for perfectly healthy people to learn how to slow down and relax.
Whichever practice you are drawn to, I invite you to devote yourself to attuning to your breath. It is a wise guide, and will happily teach you how to let go, let things be, and enter the sanctuary of your heart – that place where peace dwells and joy wells up effortlessly.
This is the road to healing, returning to your own natural pulsation. From here, the stresses of life can turn into things that flow and fall easily into place.
* As with any physical exercise, you may need to consult a health care practitioner before beginning. Always consider what is best for yourself and your body.
A Yoga Manual for Fantasy Lovers
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