I'm so happy to feature this story written by my friend and fellow Forrest & Restorative Yoga teacher, Emiko Oye about the magic of Restorative Yoga. In a world that’s constantly spinning faster and faster and which offers ways of staying in contact and available every minute of the day, it’s a profoundly powerful act to slow down. The benefits of doing so reach far beyond releasing tight muscles. Restorative yoga has been found to reduce anxiety and blood pressure as well as relieve digestive and fertility issues.
Surviving Chaos: A Restorative Yoga Journey
by Restorative Yoga Teacher & Guest Writer Emiko Oye
For most of my life I’ve been a Type A, work-all-day-all-night, driven to succeed person and took pride in the fact that for years I existed on 4 hours of sleep a night. I was growing my jewelry business and running an arts non-profit, and my yoga practice was a reflection of this lifestyle – hard-core Bikram and Hot Hatha. The idea of napping, sitting still, let alone a 20 minute Savasana (with props, gasp!) was unfathomable. A colleague warned me that if I didn’t build more rest into my life, my body would eventually revolt. I disregarded her warning, believing it wouldn’t happen to me.
Then I hit 40. I began experiencing hip and pelvic pain, extreme PMS, ever-lingering colds that wouldn’t go away, brain fog, and eventually life-threatening anaphylaxis. As a Forrest Yoga teacher I started to weave in more self-care practices, but REST was still the elusive unicorn in attaining Balance in my life.
Then November 2016 happened. Living in downtown San Francisco the levels of despair, anger and fear were palpable. By February 2017 many of my loved ones were experiencing regular anxiety attacks and depression. The homeless tent cities continued to grow, non-stop construction continued on every corner, and the chaotic energy was inescapable.
I signed up for a 21-Day online Savasana course, committing to 20 minutes of supported Savasana each day. This was my introduction to Restorative Yoga, and it felt like a lifeline to inner peace amidst the madness surrounding me. I rapidly developed a physical longing and desire to soak up all I could about this branch of yoga, including becoming a certified Restore and Renew® Level 2 teacher under Judith Hanson Lasater. It felt like coming home.
I began to share this practice with loved ones under duress, no matter what their physical capabilities. Within sessions they felt the positive effects on their nervous system and sense of ease and well-being. My non-yogic husband craves it too and it’s something we seek out together around town or when traveling.
Flash ahead to the present day: my pelvic pain is gone, PMS has lessened, and I rarely get colds. I wake up feeling rested, and on busy days rejuvenated. Thank you, Restorative Yoga. Somedays all it takes is a few minutes in a Restorative pose to attend to what my body or energy needs in order to ground, relieve tension, or put me in a meditative state. Having spaciousness, stillness and silence are imperative to being a sane, kind human – why wouldn’t you want that for yourself, your loved ones and your community!