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This evening LC and I tried a whole new type of yoga – Restorative Yoga.  We’d both had full weekends and I thought it would be nice to do something that sounded so rejuvenating.  I was thinking it was more along the lines of Gentle Yoga, but it was actually quite different.

What is Restorative Yoga? I really like the way Restorative Yoga is defined here.  In a nutshell:

The antidote to stress is relaxation. Restorative yoga focuses on relaxation, renewal, effortlessness and ease. Blankets, bolsters, straps, and other props safely support the body in various postures which allows the body to move towards a state of balance. This practice soothes your nervous system, helps you quiet your mind and invites you to release deeply held tension.”

Or, as the yoga instructor put it, “guided napping.”  LOL.

It was actually a really spiritual experience for me.  I’m not very religious, but I found it really calming and a nice way to end the weekend to be reminded that “we are all part of something more than ourselves.”  That, “we are all divine – no one is better than another.  We should not criticize ourselves harshly, nor should we judge others harshly, either.”  LC told me on the car ride home that those beliefs are the basic tenets of yoga.  I had no idea, because they’d never been mentioned in any class I’ve ever taken.  I am going to try to remind myself of these ideas throughout the week, because I am both ultra-critical of myself as well as overly critical of others too much of the time.

The teacher gave us an invocation (my word) to repeat internally throughout the class:

Yoga is the unity of consciousness and the heart.”

That was such a calming thought, and I have to say that I’ve never felt my mind become quieter than I did today. Throughout the class we were giving a guided meditation which was really relaxing and renewing.  I wasn’t worried about a million little things – I just concentrated on my breathing and the image the instructor was creating, and let everything else go.  It was amazing.

There are a series of five poses that we got into throughout the 90-minute class.  We held each pose for at least 10 minutes, which some of them held up to 20 minutes.  These aren’t exactly what we did, but they’re fairly close.

I’ve been having really severe pain in the form of a pulled muscle in my back.  So bad that it hurts when I breathe deeply.  (And yes, I plan to contact the doctor tomorrow about the muscle pain, because it’s gone on far too long).  Tonight during class was the first time in a month that I was pain free for an hour and a half and it was wonderful. I’m going to use some of the poses (like the reclining pose) when I go to sleep, because it just felt so good.

While I don’t think I burned many calories, although a couple of websites said that a 200-pound person could burn 238 calories in an hour of restorative yoga.  Since the class was 90-minutes and I’m about 90 lbs over that example, I logged 238 calories burned into LoseIt, just to be safe.

All in all, it wasn’t at all what I expected, but Restorative Yoga was exactly what I needed.  I don’t know that I’ll go back to a class, but I will try to practice a form of it from time to time at home.  Maybe even with LC.

If you get a chance to give it a try (even by using an audio or a DVD), I’d highly recommend it at least once. You’ll feel relaxed and refreshed, and let’s face it, we lead such hectic, stressful lives that we could all use a little mental and physical stillness every now and then.

Namaste!
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