Both mindfulness and restorative yoga have the same desired outcomes: a quieter mind, reduced stress, a sense of calm and an overall improved sense of wellbeing. While both of these practices can lead us to those outcomes, the paths to get there are quite different. Let’s dive a little deeper into these two distinct practices…
The intent of restorative yoga is to provide optimal condition for self healing through deep rest. Marinating for 10-20 minutes in each fully-supported restorative pose allows the nervous system to reset, bringing us out of the flight or fight mode of the sympathetic nervous system and into the parasympathetic system’s functions of rest and digest. An important recalibration for many of us who operate mostly from a place of overstimulation and busy-ness.
There are some contradictory ideas around the ‘best’ way to practice restorative yoga. One school of thought suggest that, the practice is purely physical poses and once in a pose, no further effort is required. While I agree with this in terms of physical body, I know for myself that, when the physical body is given this opportunity to slow down, the mind can often jump in to fill the void. So, while the body rests, the mind wanders. This is where the gift of mindfulness comes in…
Mindfulness is the practice of being present. It is about noticing and contemplating thoughts and feelings and focusing the mind. One way we might do this in a restorative yoga practice is to bring our awareness to the breath, to use it as an anchor to the present moment. Students time and again report that practicing mindfulness and restorative in combination allows them to go deeper into both, leaving them with an even greater sense of insight, relaxation and renewal.
Of course, the best way to truly understand how these practices weave so perfectly together is to come along and experience it for yourself.
Kirsty Innes runs regular Restorative Yoga Afternoon Retreats in Brisbane. Upcoming Sessions are:
+ Sunday 2nd December 2018, 2-4pm at Soho Yoga, Ascot
+ Sunday 13th January 2019, 2-4pm at SohoYoga, Ascot
For those wishing to dive deeper into the practice or learn the skills and techniques to share it with others, Kirsty Innes is joining with Tammy Williams of Yoga NRG for a very special Mindfulness Based Restorative Yoga Teacher Training module on the Sunshine Coast in February 2019.
Kirsty will also be offering Restorative Yoga Afternoon Retreats and Teacher Training in the UK and Europe on her 2019 tour.