With the madness of the festive season in full swing, no doubt we are all feeling a little ‘caught up’ in the atmosphere. Between catching up with old friends, Christmas parties with colleagues, and last minute shopping the season to be jolly can leave us feeling a little worn out.

Self-care is crucial, particularly at a time like this so, believe me, it is most definitely worth taking time at least once a week to step back from the madness and mind yourself. One of the ways of doing this is through restorative yoga.  

Restorative yoga is essentially an extended holding of a few simple poses using props to facilitate a deep level of relaxation. Practicing restorative yoga provides a moment to step out of the ‘doing’, into the ‘being’ and slow everything right down.

Here are some of the benefits to practicing restorative yoga:


Restorative yoga also allows for deep introspection

As we take an hour or so to practice restorative yoga, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to ‘go quiet’. That’s where the listening begins. When we are busy living in our heads, our physical body, as well as our brains, can go on ‘autopilot’.

When we slow down in a resting pose for a couple of minutes we may begin to become aware of a tightness in our hips, a twinge in the lower back, the left side feeling different to the right side. We may notice where we are holding on to tension unnecessarily.

In addition to the physical, restorative yoga also allows for deep introspection. Staying in these poses for a couple of minutes at a time allows for the yogi to begin to watch these thoughts, assess how important they are at that moment and really analyse what’s going on inside.  


Quiet time can allow you to 'let go' of certain thoughts

We are conditioned to believe that we need to ‘work’ at becoming more flexible, however, forcing the body into an active pose that it’s not ready for can possibly hinder progress. We can often achieve a deeper, more intense opening in these tight areas by softening and relaxing into the pose.

It also helps to release tension we may not have even realised we were holding. Beyond the physical, this quiet time that you give yourself can allow for a ‘letting go’ of certain thoughts and ideals that no longer serve us along with acting as a trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system to release the ‘fight or flight’ stress response and migrate towards a ‘rest and digest’ condition


The end of the year is a perfect time for relfection

This expansion of awareness and release of that which no longer serves cultivates a more mindful way of being. Slowing down and cultivation of a deeper, more restful experience helps the practitioner become more mindful of themselves and their environment. It’s almost a precursor to meditation.  

As we approach the end of the year, it becomes a time for reflection and the healing and recuperative practice of restorative yoga can facilitate this as you remain in each pose for longer than usual and have more time to reflect.

It’s not uncommon to feel emotional or vulnerable during and after a restorative practice and so, nurturing little touches such as snuggling under a blanket or using an eye pillow can help.

There are plenty of regular restorative classes and workshops running around the country. Check with your local studio or teacher to find a class near you but please do!

Failing that, you can find a couple of poses that can be practiced at home without the use of props here.   You’ll thank yourself for it. I guarantee it!