Column: Restorative yoga, the next big thing in alternative healing

Column: Restorative yoga, the next big thing in alternative healing

I’ve been doing yoga for the last fifteen years and one might say I’ve become an expert. My two strongest poses include savasana and child’s pose.

Savasana or dead body pose consists of lying on your back and breathing. I think you’d be impressed if you saw me do this one. And child’s pose is similar to savasana in that it entails rest on your front but in a kneeling position.

However all the other poses which include downward dog, half moon, awkward pose, cat to cow pose, eagle pose and more have all been very difficult for me when I was a beginner but now as I age I would refer to them as torturous.

Despite all the pain and failure to progress I remain steadfast in my practice and do get to class at least once a week largely because my yoga teacher Jasmine Yu is so kind and so utterly adorable.

Jasmine Yu a restorative yoga instructor. (Photo provided by Tom Ferraro)

But alas, she gave me some good news last week. She is now certified in Restorative Yoga and when she described it to me I thought this may be the next big thing in yoga since Bikram Choudhury turned up the heat to 105 degrees.
Jasmine described the process as doing a variety of yoga poses but using props like blocks, bolsters, blankets, walls and chairs which allow you to rest into the poses for five to 20 minutes each.

She told me the idea was that when you are supported by a prop you more readily can relax into the pose and thereby actually begin to make progress.
Most athletes do yoga in order to gain balance and flexibility and so I could see that this form of yoga may actually guarantee progress since you are aided in going into relaxed positions through the use of props and by holding these positions for longer than the usual 30 seconds.

I am sometimes asked to teach sport psychology to chiropractors on Long Island and I recall one Israeli chiropractor telling me of a procedure they invented in Israel whereby they put the patient under anesthesia so that they could perform prolonged stretching without them experiencing pain.

I thought that Restorative Yoga functions with the same principle.

The problem with regular yoga is that it is often so painful to perform that you come out of the poses far sooner then you should.

Jasmine described this form of yoga as “a push towards relaxation or meditation with poses. We are all in a constant fight or flight mode where we are dictated by our sympathetic nervous system. this type of yoga gets you back into your sympathetic nervous system where health and healing is found. ”
The literature on restorative yoga says it lowers cortisol levels which helps with healing and weight loss.
The only real benefit of aging is that you do get smarter over time.

At this point I am really good at spotting trends that will take off and become popular.

Examples include Stew Leonards, the new super market chain on Long Island. Stew Leonards is so popular for a host of reasons. It is designed so that you walk every aisle. It has fresh food and great prices and it has very cute entertainment throughout the store. Its; like going to Disneyland to buy groceries. the place is a winner.
The same can be said for restorative yoga. Yoga is designed to help you relax and become flexible. They have finally created a form of yoga that actually achieves its goal.

You get stretched very well but do not feel that you are going through the tortures of hell in order to achieve your goals. Another example of the human minds endless ability to make things better and better.

To find out more contact Jasmine at [email protected]

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