Restorative & Yoga Nidra
As the name suggests, restorative yoga “restores” the body to its parasympathetic nervous system function, which, in turn, helps the body rest, heal, and restore balance. By allowing time for longer asanas and deeper breathing, restorative yoga helps elicit the relaxation response. The actual effort involved in restorative yoga is the willingness to look at how and where we are holding tension, and to relax our body on the ground, allowing the breath to come in more, so the tension that we find can be softened or less gripping. Most of us are programmed to “do” a lot—it keeps us engaged and makes us feel productive and in control. But our habit of running around, conquering our to-do lists, and fueling ourselves with coffee and ambition can often be a way we avoid deep discomforts and unwelcome feelings in the body and mind. Restorative yoga asks us to stop engaging in all the doing and face what we really need to look at about ourselves. To learn about, befriend, and care for the whole of ourselves in a way we are not used to. This is an essential step for health and healing, for true renewal.
Yoga nidra is an ancient but little-known yogic practice that’s becoming increasingly popular as both a form of meditation and a mind-body therapy. It is a systematic form of guided relaxation. Practitioners say that it often brings immediate physical benefits, such as reduced stress and better sleep, and that it has the potential to heal psychological wounds. As a meditation practice, it can engender a profound sense of joy and well-being. In yoga nidra, we restore our body, senses, and mind to their natural function and awaken a seventh sense that allows us to feel no separation, that only sees wholeness, tranquility, and well-being.