Monday, April 20, 2009

What are the Benefits of Restorative Yoga?

Restorative poses offer benefits to both the body and mind, for conditions ranging from insomnia, asthma, chronic pain, migraines and depression.

According to Bill Gallagher,
Yoga is an effective rehabilitation tool. There is a growing body of evidence indicating that Yoga appears promising for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, burns, stroke, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain syndromes including low back pain and repetitive strain injuries.

So how can Restorative Yoga be helpful for rehabilitation? Restorative Yoga provides a low-load, prolonged stretch, elicits relaxation, improves breathing patterns and is compatible with gentle manual therapies like myofascial release.

A low-load prolonged stretch is an effective way to restructure muscle tissue. A restorative posture allows the client to remain still for an extended period of time so muscles lengthen and broaden safely without eliciting a stretch reflex. As the client “lets go” and the body relaxes, the therapist can then provide manual therapy that can further address the structural and functional issues observed. The synergistic combination of a supported Yoga posture with manual therapy is a powerful way to address soft tissue restrictions, improve flexibility, increase range of motion and improve body awareness.

Sara's note: I have seen this "letting go" happen first hand in my classes. I wrote about it in A Student Observation.