With the hectic Christmas season upon us, the end of the year looming and the shortest day of the year just around the corner, this final stretch of the year can begin to feel overwhelming, tiring, stressful and draining – a perfect time to indulge in a spot of restorative yoga to relax, release and restore the flow of energy.

But what is restorative yoga, and why is it so beneficial for the mind, body and soul?

As the name suggests, restorative yoga focuses on the more deeply healing and recuperative benefits of yoga, taking a much slower and more gentle approach to each pose or asana, prolonging the time holding each pose, and concentrating on the breathing.

Rather than flowing from asana to asana, as we do in many other schools of yoga, in restorative yoga you slow down to near stillness, gently moving into each pose and then holding it there for up to three or five minutes, giving the muscles the chance to relax and the body an opportunity to open though deeper, more passive stretching.

In order to ensure the body feels safe, supported and comfortable as we hold gentle, healing yoga poses, restorative yoga uses props such as blocks, bricks, bolsters, straps and blankets that help the body to hold poses longer and thus achieve a deep level of relaxation.

Holding each pose for extended periods of time – as we do in restorative yoga – forces us to slow down, disconnect from the stress of daily life and brings an expanded awareness allowing us to really tune in to the body. It also allows time for you to focus on stillness and mindfulness, aligning the physical and mental bodies.

The stillness, presence and deep breathing that we achieve through restorative yoga is known to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, meaning the regular nervous system will get the chance to rest and calm down, which in turn help the rest of the body to relax. With regular practise, it is said that restorative yoga can help improve meditation techniques and even strengthen the body against stress-related illnesses.

The Centre will be hosting a Restorative Yoga & Shiatsu Workshop by candlelight on the day after the Winter Solstice this coming Thursday the 22th of December, from 18:30 to 20:30 in the evening. Join us to welcome back the light and the coming of longer days. Anyone interested in deeply relaxing before the busy festive period and benefiting from the healing gift of restorative yoga, can call Emma to reserve a place on 97873494.

Through the extended restorative poses we will practise during the two-hour workshop, you will be able to relax and release your entire body, mind and emotions, through gentle and deep openings. Emma will be giving mini Shiatsu healing treatments as you hold your poses, freeing your energy flow and allowing you to tap into your own healing resources more easily.

Participation costs €20.