Work out classes are still a fairly new hobby for me. Despite being a regular gym goer for the past few years, I only just like to do my own thing on my own schedule at my own pace. Of course, part of me still really enjoy this. However, a friend recently convinced me to try a few classes with her and I immediately got hooked.
I’ve taken a yoga class before, here and there throughout high school and university. Restorative yoga was an entirely new and unique experience for me. See, I’ve always been the kind of person who likes fast pace, aggressive sports. I like the energy and the atmosphere that accompany them. Not to mention the thrill of the speed and adrenaline that you feel. As a result, restorative yoga was nothing if not a shock to my system.
Restorative yoga is all about engaging your muscles, but not overworking them. You stretch, you work on posture and alignment, you activate your muscles, but all in a smooth and gentle manner. For the entire 45 minutes I felt the most at ease I have felt in an extremely long time. The experience was thrilling in its own calm and rejuvenating way, and here are a few reasons why I highly recommend it!
- It’s all about that mental health: Working out has always been somewhat of a mental experience for me. The energy it takes to focus and the way that focus on the task at hand allows me to forget about the anxieties of life for a few minutes is key to my day. It also allows me to look at my body in a more positive light which takes a certain level of stress away from my daily life as well. This class though, it simply allows you the same kind of focus without the level of strain experienced in most physical activity.
- It teaches restraint: Unlike the way running requires you to push beyond the exhaustion by further motion, this teaches how to push beyond it by being utterly still. The restraint requires focus and serenity. The difference here between restorative and other forms of yoga that I’ve tried is that it’s not just about physical strength, it’s about mental strengthening as well. Can you stay positioned one way for three minutes without being distracted by your surroundings or persisting thoughts?
- It restores balance: Yoga itself is known for doing this, however, one way in which I’ve found this specific class extremely helpful is through the focus on alignment. We did several poses that stretched out our chest and shoulders and then onto our spine. When I tried to slouch after it even felt a little uncomfortable, which made me want to correct my posture! I feel like entering my day standing tall and feeling strong is one of the best feelings out there.
- It engages your imagination: As odd as this sounds, I find myself spending the time where I have extra space to think, to simply daydream or lose myself in the motion or position. I shut off the list of to-dos in my brain and I just let it float. Sometimes that brings me to just a blank screen, but other times I find myself really activating my imagination. It feels good to have no pattern or reason to my thoughts, they just get to do as they please. It’s relaxing, and even somewhat freeing.
Our physical and mental health are so closely intertwined. In all physical activities, this is extremely clear. Yet, there is something about restorative yoga that I found to truly stand out among the rest. It doesn’t have to be an everyday kind of habit, once a week might be enough. Taking the time to slow things down can be just as important as remembering to speed things up. If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself. Your mind and body will thank you.
Featured Image via WeHeartIt