3 Reasons Why You Need A Restorative Yoga Practice
I had the most amazing gentle yoga class the other night, and it got me thinking about how important it is to consistently incorporate a gentle or restorative class into your yoga practice.

Maybe you strive to go to super power core and sweaty, hot Vinyasa three times per week, and run every day after work, but how often do you stop to truly relax and connect to your self?

Here are three reasons why I think keeping a gentle yoga class as part of your weekly practice is so super important.

1. You'll relax. 

There is a certain relaxation that comes at the end of a sweaty, power yoga class. But what if you could feel that blissful state of relaxation and release for an entire hour-long class?! That’s what gentle yoga feels like to me. Rarely will you be asked to hold a downward dog at all, and definitely not for more than a breath or two at a time. 

Gentle classes are typically slow-moving, connecting each deep, lengthened breath with the next as you move deeper into each stretch or twist, making space and then slowly melting in to it.

2. You'll connect to the divine. 

Whether you have a solid spiritual practice or are looking to delve deeper into your spirituality, gentle yoga is the perfect place for a moving meditation. Practice bringing your attention to the Divine and allowing yourself to be cracked open with every gentle back bend. Listen to what comes up with every hip opener. Be present for what speaks to you.

3. It will help with intention-setting. 

I was honored to lead a gentle yoga class on the evening of MLK Day here in Austin. I spoke about ahimsa, or non-violence, from David’s Frawley’s Yoga and Ayurveda. I read a favorite quote of mine from the mouth of the Doctor himself: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

I asked the class to set an intention to focus on ahimsa during their practice that evening. I asked them to imagine, with every inhale, filling up with a bright light, or an energy, that represented non-violence and loving kindess. With every exhale I encouraged the class to release everything else that wasn’t serving them right then in that moment, to allow for focus and attention on ahimsa.

The classroom reverberated with energy and love and at the end of the practice, I felt so uplifted! Many students reacted the same, and went floating out of class for the evening, truly on a yoga high. Imagine the possibility of even the smallest intention, set to your moving meditation and dedicating every breath of your practice to bringing that intention in to being. It is so powerful!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
Sean Devenport has dedicated her life to helping others find gratitude and loving kindness through the practice of yoga. Born in Delta, Colorado, Sean grew up in northern Wisconsin, and now calls Austin, Texas home. Her practice first began when her mom lent her some yoga-on-VHS tapes, and she's been hooked ever since. However, it wasn't until she graduated from Ripon College with a BA degree in Psychology that Sean decided to take the next step in her practice and become a yoga instructor. With encouragement from her teacher, Stevie Lake, Sean got her 200-hour RYT certification with Gioconda Yoga in Austin, and is set to complete her 500-hour RYT certification with Gioconda and Christina Sell at the San Marcos School of Yoga in the fall of 2013. With her background in Psychology, Sean describes her yoga classes to be "like therapy, without having to talk about it." Students can feel free to move, reflect and unwind in whatever way honors where their bodies, minds and spirits are at in every moment, and with every breath. Having the opportunity to train with compassionate yoginis like Stevie, Gioconda, Christina and so many others, Sean finds her capacity for connection, worthiness, and love through the practice of yoga.
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