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Monthly Inspiration: October 2014

Restore Yourself

By Jessica Bellofatto

Most of you that know me know that I am a highly active person. If I am not practicing yoga you can find me surfing, paddle boarding, running, biking, swimming, taking a TRX class, or competing in some local race. I love it all, especially if it takes place outside, preferably in the water :) However, I absolutely value Restorative Yoga and feel as if it is a completely overlooked part of this healing practice we call Yoga. I also find that the word Restorative is misunderstood to mean 'gentle' yoga, with easy postures and just an overall 'gentle' class. The Restorative Yoga as taught and passed down by the late B.K.S Iyengar is, in fact, very specific. Props are used to support the body and allow postures to be held for a much longer period of time. Restorative postures and sequences are designed to move the spine in all directions, with forward bends, backbends, and twists being an integral part of any restorative practice. Also important are inverted postures, to reverse the effects of gravity and enhance heart function. The postures that are practiced also stimulate and soothe the organs, especially when something like a forward bend is balanced with a backbend- so that the abdominal organs are squeezed, forcing the blood out, and then opened, so that fresh blood returns to soak the organs. This enhances the exchange of oxygen and waste products across the cell membrane. Lastly, Restorative Yoga seeks to balance the opposing energies of prana - the masculine energy, upward moving force, and apana- the feminine energy and downward moving force, bringing us into perfect equilibrium and balance.

Sounds worthy of our deeper investigation, doesn't it?

The first time I was exposed to a restorative class at the Iyengar Institute in NYC many years ago, I was profoundly affected by the practice. I felt shifting and transformation on a very deep level that went way beyond the physical. I came out of supported postures held for 5, 10, 15 minutes and felt a rush of energy through my body, a clarity in my mind, and a sense of ease and peacefulness I don't think I had experienced up to that point in my yoga practice or in my life. I was hooked...

These days, with three kids, running the studio, teaching retreats, and carving out time for play in my life, I still find time for a daily restorative posture. That might be supta baddha konasana (goddess pose) just before bed each night or it might be viparita karani (legs up the wall) as a delicious break in the middle of the day (way better than a cup of coffee!).

When we get a glimpse into the amazing feeling and benefit of these types of postures, we value them as much as we value movement and physical exercise, we make time for them in our lives, we share them with others... We hope to offer you this month, especially during this transitional time between summer and fall, a chance to feel refreshed, renewed, and deeply supported through the exploration of Restorative Yoga. We hope to see you in class soon!

KamaDeva Yoga, 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl, East Hampton, NY 11937 Tel: 917.301.6919 Monthly Inspiration Archives