Teacher blog Post: Why Restore? by Lisa Pickert

If you know Tula teacher, Lisa Pickert, you know she's a little firecracker and can lead one bad-ass Vinyasa class. You may not know, however, that she also leads sweet, stress-lifting Restorative Yoga classes as well. I asked her write a blog post on Restorative yoga - what is it and why do we want to do? 

So, read her blog post and then mark your calendar to come experience this 'restoring' first hand at her Restorative Yoga workshop on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 5-7pm.

After all, who couldn't use some stress relief? 

Why Restore?

by Lisa PIckert

In our fast paced forward-thinking society, "doing" is valued more than simply "being," and we need to slow down, calm down, and nurture ourselves.  


   "To his detriment, modern man is often unable to resolve his stress so directly, and lives chronically stressed as a result. Still responding to the fight or flight response, the adrenal glands continue to pump stress hormones. The body does not benefit from nutrition because the digestion and elimination systems are slowed down. Even sleep is disturbed by this agitated state.  In a chronically stressed state, quality of life, and perhaps life itself, is at risk. The body’s capacity to heal is compromised, either inhibiting recovery from an existing illness or injury, or creating a new one, including high blood pressure, ulcers, back pain, immune dysfunction, reproductive problems, and depression. These conditions add stress of their own and the cycle continues."  

- Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph. D and PT, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times

That sounds pretty grim, but there are ways to alleviate chronic stress.  Yoga offers us so many tools!  You can learn, and re-learn, how and where to identify tension in your body and release it.  Restorative yoga, with it's longer, supported holds provides a healing space for the physical body, and also can have a transformative effect on the mind.  

What's different about a restorative yoga class?

Some of the poses might be familiar to you from a vinyasa, hatha, or yin class, but the approach and benefits are unique.  In a restorative class, blankets, bolsters, and blocks are used to support the body so there is little muscular effort.  It is without effort that the body can move into a state of deep relaxation, releasing tension held deeply in the muscles and joints.  The poses are held for a greater length of time, so that the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our "rest and digest" instincts and actions is triggered.  It takes the average human body about twelve minutes to find complete stillness and ease in a particular position.  During this time we can cultivate the habit of attention, and we must allow ourselves to switch from 'doing mode' to 'being mode.'  

What are the effects?

If we truly give ourselves the important task of doing nothing besides taking in and letting go of deep breaths, a restorative yoga practice can be transformative.  Scientifically and specifically, it can lower blood pressure and heart rate, ease respiration, quiet the frontal brain lobes, enhance immune response, reduce fatigue, improve sleep, and help to manage chronic pain to sustain and restore balance in the body.

I'm convinced that the less time you think you have for this type of practice, the more you need it!

Give yourself the greatest gift, that of your own attention!  Chicagoans, winter warriors, I'm writing to you.  

Questions?  Email me at Lpickertyoga@gmail.com