When I was first introduced to the Restorative practice over a decade ago, I can remember exactly what I felt: both disappointment and relief. Disappointment that we would not be doing a strong, challenging practice bound up in the wall ropes, weighted down by sandbags and pulled apart with partner work (all at the same time) and relief because I finally had permission to just relax and settle down. Asana class was held once a week with our trusted teacher and the last class of each month was a Restoratives practice. I always felt SO MUCH BETTER after class, but each time it was Restoratives I found myself thinking “Oh no, not this today!” It probably took about a year before I turned the corner and started actually looking forward to a Restoratives practice.
Twelve years later, I can’t imagine a yoga practice without Restoratives. It is such an important part of the Asana practice for me. Wading deeply into a forward fold or supported headstand, for example, and taking time for the breath and the mind to recalibrate helps balance the energy of the on-demand, instant this-and-that, hectic life. It requires us to slow down, practicing patience and letting go. The benefits of this are endless: decreased blood pressure, stress relief, improved concentration and an overall calming and grounding feeling.
In the Restorative Series beginning this February at Capitol Hill, I invite students to come and explore this calming and healing practice. Students will learn how to correctly set up for each pose, using props such as bolsters, blankets, chairs and sandbags. Finding the proper support for the body will allow for the brain and nervous system to finally find the space to rest and heal. When done correctly, the practice is deeply nourishing and supportive for the entire body. And who knows? Maybe you won’t be a late bloomer like me. Maybe it will only take you 10 minutes into a supported backbend to realize this is just the thing you’ve been needing all your life.
Posted by: Jonna Bracken
Join Jonna for her next Restorative Series, Wednesdays 5:45-7:00pm at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill, Chandra Studio, February 20 – March 27.