Restorative Yoga Poses Foster Healing
The physical, mental and spiritual benefits are similar to those of active yoga, but because poses are held longer and supported by props such as bolsters, blankets, belts and blocks, “There’s no stress on the tissue and joints. Each pose gifts us with longerlasting benefits, including more time for the mind to unwind,” advises Carey.
“Restorative yoga allows both muscles and the brain to recover from fatigue, so we are stronger, sharper and better able to act in the world afterward,” explains Roger Cole, Ph.D., a certified Iyengar yoga teacher in Del Mar, California, and a research scientist studying the physiology of relaxation, sleep and biological rhythms. He attests that it also serves as preparation for pranayama (mindful yoga breathing) and meditation, which require a clear, well-rested, focused mind.
Perfect for beginners and used by longtime practitioners to complement other yoga styles, restorative poses are designed to accurately realign and reshape the body. They also can be therapeutically tailored to support natural healing for issues related to tension, premenstrual syndrome, weak immune functioning, back pain, pregnancy and recovery for athletes. “Poses for healing may require targeted gentle stretching, but prop use will coax the body into desired positions without requiring muscular effort,” says Cole.