I began a daily restorative yoga practice when my meditation teacher told me that there are four ways to meditate: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. It took a teacher saying so to help validate my instinct to practice lying down on the days when my body was too full of tension, stress, or pain to make sitting meditation possible.
How is a restorative practice different from meditation? In restorative yoga, we are working on relaxing the physical body with no effort involved in trying to control the mind. As the body relaxes, the mind can follow, often entering into a dream-like state, allowing the natural wisdom of the body to take over and begin the process of self-healing. It's one of the best practices to recover from stress, fatigue, injury, sickness and any kind of chronic condition, such as chronic pain.
Relaxing isn't always easy... when our body relaxes and releases tension, emotions and feelings can rise to the surface that are unfamiliar and scary. This is normal. In order for our body to release, let go, and heal, we need to allow ourselves to fully feel the emotions that present themselves inside us. On the up side, beautiful emotions can arise as well, and often do. It's exciting... we never know what can happen during practice!
It can help to do restorative yoga with a teacher so that your body can learn how to fully relax, feel, and heal in a safe and supportive environment. My own daily practice helped me to heal from chronic pain, and I love sharing what I've learned in my journey with my students.
Here's hoping you will be inspired to join me in the underrated and underutilized but wholly amazing and fantastic practice of restorative yoga...
Chant, Heal, Restore is a restorative workshop offered twice a year at Unfold Portland. Find next offering here: http://www.carolgrimesyoga.org/special-events/