Thursday, May 31, 2007

Restorative Yoga

On Wednesday William gave us a restorative yoga class... this is when we hold postures for at least 3 minutes. We are allowed to work the posture as much as we like, meaning we can either relax into the posture or be active in the posture on a muscular level. The restorative postures are extremely rejuvenating to the CNS.

Examples of restorative postures would be downward facing dog with the top of your head resting on a support. The significance of pressure on the top of the head is supposed to give calm and quiet to the brain. I know in the world of acupuncture the top of the head is a point given to calm someone down. Other postures we hold for extended periods of time are forward bends, supported back bends and reclining postures. Plus in Iyengar yogaland we always practice timed head and shoulder stands (10 minutes). The emphasis is on turning the gaze inward, turning off outside distraction, rejuvenating the nervous system and calming the brain.

The way I understand yoga asana is that it was exercises for the yogis. These people spent huge amounts of time in seated meditation... this will really goof up your physical body if you don't move it around. All the postures are for something... particularly increasing circulation, the wringing and renewal of blood to internal organs is mentioned several times in Light on Yoga.

My only practice was yoga on Wednesday... the sun was shining when I got home so I had to dig in my garden. I got a new wheelbarrow to try out and hostas to plant, weeds to pull and I didn't want to miss my chance for some nice weather.


Mark Reifkind said...

so it's the ISSHST( Iyengar Secret Service Headstand test?)is it?lol. 10 minutes is along time on your head.

fawn friday said...

Mr. Iyengar says this about Sirsasana (sanskrit for headstand);

"Regular practice of sirsasana makes healthly pure blood flow through the brain cells. This rejuvenates them so that thinking power increases and thoughts become clearer. The asana in a tonic for people whose brains tire quickly. It insures a proper blood supply to the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain. Our growth, health and vitality depend on the proper functioning of these two glands.

People suffering from loss of sleep, memory and vitality have recovered be the regular and correct practice of this asana and have become fountains of energy. The lungs gain the power to resist any climate and stand up to any work, which relieves one from colds, coughs, tonsillitis, halitosis and palpitations. It keeps the body warm. Coupled with Sarvagangasan (shoulder stand) it is a boon to people suffering from constipation."

He goes on to say start with 5 minutes work toward 15, then start variations... More than 30 minutes the head becomes like a block of wood.

BKS Iyengar is getting close to 90 years old, he still does this stuff.

I think you would like a long head stand... This is my endurance training.

Mark Reifkind said...

for gymnast more than 10 seconds is long time. I will play with it though, thanks.