Stephanie Williams is an experienced yoga teacher specialising in Women’s yoga and pre and post-natal. At PMPP we have teamed up with Stephanie to share a restorative yoga workshop, including yoga nidra. This will be held at PMPP on Sunday 2nd February and 50% of the ticket sales will be donated towards Red Cross Australia Bushfire Relief. Stephanie shares with us the benefits of practicing restorative yoga and how it can help with stress below.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
The benefits of practicing restorative yoga has been linked to:
- Improved Sleep
- Reduced stress hormones
- Inverted postures improve blood pressure and help with fluid retention
- Improved digestive function
- Boosts immune system
- Relaxes and calms the mind and brings emotional balance
- The body starts to repair and regenerate naturally
Give me some of that! Right!? But how does it all work?
Effects of stress on the body
With such busy lifestyles and the myriad pressures coming from modern day living, elevated stress is chronic and ongoing for many of us. To the point where we feel that this is what normal feels like. The truth is that while this state of being is common, it is certainly not what a “normal” human experience has to consist of.
Don’t get me wrong; stress is a normal and important function of the human body.
When we’re exposed to a stressor our body dedicates maximum resources in the short term to keeping us safe from an immediate threat. The hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline set off a chain reaction in the body to increase the readiness and access to energy within the cells. This enables us to react, think and run faster so we can have the best chance possible to escape from the saber tooth tiger.
In this process our body sacrifices a few key functions to avoid wasting precious time. Digesting food, growing and repairing new tissues and reproduction are all relegated as low priority. Our body is not interested in reproducing when escaping that sabertooth tiger!
Once the stressor has passed, the normal bodily response is to release relaxation hormones. This shifts the body back into a rest, digest and restore response.
Our busy modern day lives
For most, we’ve traded the sabertooth tiger for packed schedules, extended work hours, financial pressures, family commitments and health crises. Then we add irregular and interrupted sleep, high intensity exercise, a lack of nutritious food and enough coffee to get you through each day. Our body experiences this as prolonged exposure to ongoing and elevated stress.
This is where yoga, and in particular restorative yoga, can really bring balance and harmony back into the body and mind. Let me elaborate.
What is Restorative Yoga?
Let’s start with the ‘yoga’ bit. When we think of yoga, we often think of a lithe woman in an impossible pose that most can’t even remember being able to do as a kid. But Yoga is soooo much more than this.
The word Yoga is from the ancient language sanskrit and can be translated to yoke or union. In other words, bringing your mind and body into balance and harmony. In restorative yoga we create shapes in the body called ‘asana’ and employ breathing techniques called ‘pranayama’. This moves the body into ‘Active Relaxation’.
The shapes created are by no means strenuous or challenging and they’re designed this way intentionally. We use bolsters, bankets, blocks and straps so that you can completely relax and allow the props to support you.
Can anyone practice Restorative yoga?
The positions are accessible and suitable for anyone who is able to get on or off the ground. Once we are on the mat, we stay there for the whole time. Restorative yoga is suitable for pregnancy and people with injuries and limitations in movement. There is always a variation we can work in to support your body’s needs.
The poses in restorative yoga can seem simple at the time and some of us may feel that there’s not much happening. Especially when we’re used to pushing in all areas of our lives and the impulse is to keep moving and challenge ourselves to get results.
Rest and relax
With restorative yoga, the important part is that you have the chance to relax and to breathe. This allows your body to come back into its own balance and re-engage the very important rest, digest and restore response. I encourage you to come try Restorative Yoga. Experience the benefits of improved energy, clarity of mind, better sleep and a general feeling of well-being for yourself.
See you on the mat!
Tickets to PMPP’s yoga workshop can be purchased via this link
~ Stephanie Williams
Stephanie studied a Bachelors Degree in Health Science, majoring in Nutrition and Exercise Science. Her in depth knowledge and understanding of the scientific structure and function of the body, paired with her intuitive feminine nature, has allowed her to answer her calling. She has created a unique and quality offering, specialising in private sessions and women specific practices. Stephanie believes in meeting her students where they are on any given day, balancing the yin and the yang for the modern day woman.
Stephanie has studied with Ana Davis at Bliss Baby Yoga (Pre and Post Natal Yoga, Women’s Yog) and Hugh Lee at Breath of Heart (Yin Yoga). She has also learned from Francesca Cervero (The Science of the Private Lesson) and Shimi Ambrose at Power and Posture (200hr Teacher Training).
Stephanie offers Private Yoga Sessions, Workshops and Retreats. You will find all her latest offerings on her website and current class schedule kalpitayoga.com.a