Cognitive, emotional, and physical health are what I like to think of as the “three pillars of longevity.” Longevity doesn’t just mean living a long time. It also means living your best life now and as you age. Restorative Yoga can be a cornerstone of this temple of vitality.
While it may look like you’re not doing much in a Restorative Yoga pose, there are, in fact, a lot of things that go on when we allow ourselves to be supported by props, our breath, and a quiet space.
To those of you out there that are skeptical that any “lying around on props” can advance your practice, trust me, it can. I am living proof of it.
I am an emergency physician, medical acupuncturist, business owner, educator, writer, mother, wife, and high-level endurance athlete with over 13 Boston Marathons under my belt (yes, I qualified for each one and even raced with an elite bib) and a full Ironman.
I can confidently tell you that adding Restorative Yoga to my schedule has helped me in every aspect of my life and is the reason I can be so productive.
What Is Restorative Yoga?
So what is at the heart of Restorative Yoga anyway? Well, experientially, when we are in a Restorative Yoga pose, the idea is that all the props we use meet our body’s every nook and cranny.
This allows for all of our tissues to relax. It’s like a cradle that supports every empty space so there is absolutely no effort against the pull of gravity for any of your tissues. There is simply no “doing” at all.
This supported space allows a true moment to draw our mind and body inward, or – as yogis describe it – to be in the state of Pratyahara.
Physiologically, what is happening when we get to this place where our tissues are completely supported is deep but awake relaxation. There are few times in our day when we can really achieve this conscious state of being.