Restorative yoga is a soothing practice that incorporates a variety of props to help you fall into a deep, calm state of mind and allow your body to reach total relaxation.
Each posture is held for minutes at a time, so the use of props is very helpful. This type of "passive stretching" allows you to ease into the stretch position by relaxing the muscle by relying on the external force (prop) to hold you in place. When we say props, we mean anything from yoga blocks and straps to blankets, towels, eye bags and pillows.
Does that sounds as amazing to you as it does to us?
A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health finds that restorative yoga burns body fat in overweight women. Researchers say that it could provide a way for the obese to ease into exercise when other forms of physical activity are less practical.
The 48-week study compared two groups: one taking restorative yoga and one performing stretching exercises. Researchers found that the yoga practitioners lost significantly more subcutaneous (body) fat over the initial six months, and kept losing it afterward.
Why did one group lose body fat over the other? Stress may be a factor. Restorative yoga reduces levels of cortisol — the body’s main stress hormone, which rises during times of stress and is known to increase abdominal fat.
"Restorative yoga isn't aiming to get you to lose weight per se, but by reducing stress, you'll automatically be putting less weight on your belly," said Alka Kanaya, an internist at the University of California at San Francisco, in a March 2007 article in Yoga Journal.
Check out this video featuring Gaiam Yoga Studio instructors Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman as they explain the benefits of restorative yoga, show you some poses and offer tips for restorative yoga in the office.