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restorative yoga


RELAX DEEPLY. REBALANCE. RESTORE.
THE QUIETER YOU BECOME THE MORE YOU ARE ABLE TO HEAR.

Release muscle tension, ease the mind
and leave feeling calm, restored and deeply relaxed.
Breathe deeply, live joyfully.

LET’S GET STARTED!

 

WHY YOU WANT IT.

RESTORATIVE YOGA is an essential component for reducing stress and other conditions including:
– Insomnia
– Burnout
– High blood pressure
Diabetes
Adrenal fatigue
– Immune system disorders
– Anxiety
– Depression

If you’re sitting for more than 3 hours a day, or feeling stressed out, or maybe you’re recovering from an illness and not quite ready to get back to an active workout routine, this practice is for you When we relax deeply stress melts away and the body’s healing functions are allowed to do their thing, naturally.

STRESS IS THE ROOT CAUSE FOR 75-90% OF DOCTOR’S OFFICE VISITS THESE DAYS.

In our day-to-day life we have many demands for our attention, focus and energy. This can create a low, or high, level of chronic stress. Maybe you’re in overwhelm with to many demands on your time, or you have an unpleasant boos, or maybe your home life is less than calm. Whatever it is thoughts of worry, anxiety, frustration or anger will create muscle tension and shallow breathing. Unless we consciously release the tension with deep stretches, diaphragmatic breathing and awareness of how we feel and what roles our thoughts are playing in creating tension, it will simply build and reveal itself with headaches, low back pain, insomnia, impatience…and eventually dis-ease.

 


THE SCIENCE.

This practice has  3 powerful components: the RELAXATION RESPONSE, DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING and RELEASING MUSCLE TENSION.  All 3 are interwoven and cannot be separated as one affects the other, but are they worth mentioning individually to bring awareness to the power we hold within.

The RELAXATION RESPONSE was a term coined by Dr Herbert Benson in the 1960’s while conducting research at Harvard, and is also known as the ‘rest and digest’ response. It is the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of ‘fight, flight or freeze’ activated by the sympathetic nervous system.

DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING is a key component to activating the Relaxation Response. The lungs are a soft structure and over time if we spend hours sitting our posture may become slouched and will compress the lungs which in turn effects lung functioning, circulation and limited movement of the diaphragm. This means lung capacity is reduced, and the vagus nerve which runs through the diaphragm and is an integral part of the parasympathetic system, isn’t stimulated. With some simple restorative poses and the power of focused awareness diaphragmatic breathing can easily be activated and strengthened.

CHRONIC STRESS KEEPS US IN FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT, DEEP RELAXATION CARRIES US INTO REST-DIGEST-HEAL.

RELEASING MUSCLE TENSION is another key component to deep relaxation and is greatly impacted by the breath. Although muscle tension itself is an important protective response built-in to our nervous system. It serves to stabilize movement and protect ourselves. Chronic low, or high, levels of stress can cause habituated muscle tension. For example pause and just check in to see if your neck and shoulders are relaxed? How about your jaw, forehead and belly?  Take a deep breath and see what tension you can let go of, or soften into and then repeat.

Sometimes we may have muscle tension that causes shorting of the muscle. This is the case with sitting and the effect it has on our PSOAS (so-as) MAJOR muscle. Originating at L1 thru 4, passing through the pelvic girdle and attaching at the top-inside of the the thigh bone (lesser trochanter of the femur), it is the first muscle to contract when the fight or flight response is activated. Well, when you sit all day long at a desk and then in a car, this muscle shortens. So routine standing and walking movement stimulates this muscle, which is now in a feedback loop telling the body it’s getting ready to run, or crouch as low as you can to protect yourself. You get the idea.

We cannot look at one part of the body without taking the whole body into consideration. All the systems influence each other and the ‘relaxation response’ not only balances the body, it allows the healing mechanisms to be activated. Chronic stress keeps us in fight-or-flight, deep relaxation carries us into rest-digest-heal. Breathe deeply, let go and relaaaax…

 

THE PRACTICE.

The session begins with easy, simple movements to bring the awareness into the body, begin to release tension, and deepen the breath. We then move to longer holds using props such as foam blocks and yoga blankets folded and rolled  to support the body in shapes that facilitate deep relaxation. Students are guided inward throughout the class to deepen their awareness of patterns of shallow breathing and holding muscles in tension. Each pose is held for 5-12 minutes which allows the student to consciously deepen their breath and consciously begin to release unnecessary muscle tension, which in turn informs the brain via the nervous system that it’s ok to relax. The RELAXATION RESPONSE is activated…yay!

TAKE ACTION!

Join me every Sunday night at Mission Street Yoga, South Pasadena, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Please arrive 10 minutes early your first time so I can say hi and get you set up!

I’M READY TO RELAX DEEPLY!