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When is it the right time to do Restorative Yoga?

July 3, 2011

When is it the right time to do Restorative Yoga? According to B.K.S Iyengar ‘Every posture is restorative’ but some postures are more restorative than others! The secret to success in using RY in your practice is when you do them. I am often asked when is the right time to do Restorative Yoga. My answer is always ‘When your body tells you to.’ Normal Yoga practice helps us become more attuned to our body’s whispers and, in particular, we need to pick up on those special times when an active yoga class is going to be too much – but we still want the experience of calm and centredness . Here are my Top 10 Times for when to start adding in Restorative Yoga to your regular practice. (Remember you can do anything from adding in one restorative pose to your normal class and staying in that while the others do the next posture, to doing a whole session using only 3 or 4 restorative poses and staying in each for 15-20minutes before joining in with everyone else for Relaxation).

1. If you have had a shock – unexpected news, a small bump when in the car, an anxiety attack.

2. If you are recovering from surgery – especially abdominal surgery.

3. If you have been ill and feel weak but want to give your body a little stretching without exhausting it.

4. If you are grieving.

5. If you suspect you are ‘burning out.’

6. If your stress levels have suddenly increased for any reason.

7. If you can’t switch off and feel rested after a good night’s sleep.

8. If you have had a period of really hard work and want to take care of your body softly.

9. If you have had IBS or digestive problems for some time.

10. If you have back problems or have hurt your back.

Sometimes life flashes by so quickly we find that in the last few months that we have gone from one stressful event to another, hardly pausing for breath between them. Don’t discount the cumulative effect of multiple or serial stressors. Our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits need time to process or our nervous systems end up being ‘jammed’ into a permanent state of alert, unable to access the Relaxation response we so desperately need. Without the restorative effects of stillness, silence, breath and the deep body healing relaxation that we can experience in a properly planned Restorative Yoga session, we run the risk of chronic stress symptoms developing. If that happens it becomes hard for the body to heal itself automatically. Take a moment now to think back through the last 3 months or so – is it time for you to do some Restorative Yoga?


Elizabeth Morris RYT

An experienced, advanced yoga teacher working in the UK and South Africa Elizabeth is passionate about Restorative Yoga as a gentle, yet profound yoga practice that provides balance in our over-stressed lives.  She also teaches Yin and Hatha Yoga classes at her studio in the Eastern Cape.  She runs an accreditation programme for her healing YogaRest process and has developed a series of videos teaching the ‘Rested, Ready and Eager for More’ programme. Currently she is writing a book on Recovering from Burnout with Restorative Yoga. /

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