Why restorative yoga

Tuesday I taught a different class than usual. For most teachers in the highly competitive drop-in yoga studio market, a tension is always present in class. The ideal is for the class to provide a sweet (in Sanskrit it's called "sattvic") balance between physically challenging exercises and mind-training that includes real detail about the body and strategies for calming the mind.

What I taught Tuesday was restorative yoga in the context of an Intermediate Class. It's normally a hard class. We do lots of inversions and other intermediate poses. The class is usually physically demanding; students feel it the next day. 

But Tuesday I taught the class poses that required an intermediate approach to both the breath and the mind, while holding poses longer, and closer to the floor.  (Here's also a good definition of restorative yoga in case you're wondering).

For me personally, I always feel shy sharing this practice that has dramatically deepened and developed my overall practice. When I was closing my yoga studio between 2012-13, after I had children, and certainly lots during pregnancy, restorative yoga was my go-to. I haven't found any specific set of yogic postures or actions -- other than pranayama (watch here a great teacher explain it) -- that target the emotional and mental states as well as restorative yoga does.

Simply put, it's a way to rest the mind, while increasing overall awareness of the body as it holds specific shapes. And Tuesday it seemed to work. The beginners who had accidentally stumbled in to the class (it happens every week) were noticeably challenged, and so were my regulars. But everyone left reporting how great they felt, and how glad they were that we'd changed the practice up. I was grateful and have felt so happy about that class all week. 


Kim Weeks