Posts tagged restorative yoga
Take a Deep Breath, Flow, and Restore - A Q&A with Rachael Moore

Many of us know Rachael Moore as our resident Vinyasa flow guru, but not as many know about her love for restorative yoga. It's all about nourishing the body and mind while taking time for oneself amidst the cloud of our busy, and often hectic lives. We spoke to Rachael about her new class Flow + Restore which combines two very different, but very compatible styles of yoga. Read on to find out more.


What is the Flow + Restore Class?

Flow and Restore is something that i will often do in my own practice when i need to slow down, nourish myself and restore my energy levels. It is a slow mindful practice where i am able to coax my often tight body and busy mind into a state of relaxation through rhythmic, often circular movements before settling into supported stillness where your body is held and supported with props.

How does it differ from a regular Restorative or Flow class?

Although the postures that we explore in the restore aspect of the class will be very similar to those in a regular restorative class, the way we enter the posture is a little different. It is as if we are using the flow aspect the practice, to prepare and limber the body (and mind) for the longer-held restorative posture. You may find that it is then easier to settle into the posture once you have had chance to ease into it though movement. In a regular flow class, there is very much an emphasis on dynamic movement with the breath to create strength, flexibility and stability. Although there remains a strong awareness of the breath during Flow and Restore, it is more about tuning into the quality of our breath and the quiet sensations that we so often fail to notice in a faster paced, movement focused practice.  

Is the class suitable for all levels?

Yes! Students newer to the practice may appreciate the slower, less demanding pace just as much as the more "advanced" student may appreciate the opportunity to explore different aspects of their practice. Regardless of where a student is in their practice, or in their life, it can be a revelation to be able to simply move with gentle undulations before coming to a place of rest.

What can students expect from the class?

You can expect gentle guided movements and explorations of the body, tapping into your internal compass of how your body needs to move, be moved and be nourished. While resting and being held in the restorative postures, I offer students the opportunity to have simple, gentle hands on assists with therapeutic grade essential oils, matched to the theme of the practice. This adds another layer and potency to this practice and compliment a restorative practice beautifully.

What are the benefits of a restorative practice for students who usually attend more yang/dynamic classes?

I think regardless of what style of yoga you normally practice, and actually even if you normally aren’t a yoga practitioner, we can all benefit from a little re-callibration through our nervous system. We all increasingly live in such fast forward moving society that the opportunity to drop back and yield with no expectation other than to rest, restore and replenish are few and far between. This practice gives our nervous system a much needed opportunity to move from our Sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) towards the Para-sympathetic NS (Rest and Digest). As we begin to soften and yield, we may notice the breath becoming freer, more naturally flowing un-obstructed through the body giving rise to feelings of increased energy, vitality and general well being.

Can you recommend any books etc for students that wish to find out more about this style?

Judith Hanson Lasater - Relax and Renew Book is the bible of restorative yoga and is one that I regularly refer back too. I actually have not found many good books out there in this area, so if anyone else has some good recommendations I would love to hear about them. Please comment down below!


Rachael is teaching a brand new weekly Flow + Restore class at Mitcham's Corner Student on Thursdays at 11am. Click here to book.


Three Questions: Beverley Nolan

Three Questions: Beverley Nolan

bevHow did you discover restorative yoga?

BEVERLEY: Through my initial Iyengar Teacher training. In addition to the rigours of our 5am asana sessions, we practiced restorative every afternoon to prime us for the work in the evenings. So, I have always had Restorative as an integral part of my practice. What I feel is happening now is that interest in approaches like Restorative, Yin, and Scaravelli, which are perhaps more tamasic in feeling, are helping to restore sattva (harmony or balance) to the yoga world that has seen an explosion of rajasic practices like the dynamic, power, and hot approaches.

What is the best amount of time to spend in a restorative posture?

BEVERLEY: Firstly, like all asana practice, if something is uncomfortable or indeed painful you adjust or let it go. Depending on the pose, the duration could be anything to 5-15mins. The important thing to remember is not to stretch! As odd as that sounds, the practice is designed to deactivate aspects of the nervous system that are primed for action and put them into the back seat. Giving ourselves the permission not to do anything is probably the biggest challenge of the form.

Is yoga historically a men's practice or have women always done it too?

BEVERLEY: We have to remember that surviving documents and archaeological fragments are only a glimpse into the history of humanity’s search into the nature of being. It is true to say that many of the images and stories that have survived depict more male than female participants; but it is certainly not exclusive. I would imagine that along with many culture and traditions the Divine Feminine and the role of woman in understanding the nature of being will have at times been revered and encouraged, and at times will have suffered from the rise and dissemination of partriarchal influence. The important thing to remember is that Love is completely unconditional, completely unjudgemental and in fact totally indifferent to gender, and it is Love that lies at the heart of it all.

Magic of Restorative Yoga - Interview with Beverley Nolan

Beverley Nolan

CY: Hi Beverley, I think most of our clients know you very well by now but in case someone new is reading this article could you tell us something little about yourself?

Beverley: OK, I am a mum to a gorgeous 12 year-old daughter and we share our house with a crazy Kerry Blue Terrier and three goldfish who always seem hungry. Either that, or they are trying to tell me something! I grew up in Essex, and spent a lot of my life working in the travel industry and marketing. I came to Cambridge after a spell teaching business English in Paris, back in 89.

CY: Can you tell us how did you come across yoga and what prompted you to teach?

Beverley: I had been aware of it since my childhood when there used to be a show on the TV when I got home from school, but I started proper I suppose in the 80s when I had the good fortune to chance on an Iyengar teacher from Australia who was studying in the UK. It wasn’t long before I was doing several classes a week with her and on the workshop trail in the UK and US. I’d already planned to go to Australia on a working holiday in 86 but this shape-shifted into a teacher training in Sydney. I’ve never stopped since then, although initially I had a ‘proper’ job in the daytime and taught in Adult Education in the evenings - career yogis were few and far between then.

CY: Aside from doing our regular Open Level and Basic Yoga classes you also teach Restorative Yoga on Fridays. Can you tell us what sort of class is that? What can people expect to do?

Beverley: Actually, ‘do’ is what we don’t do! We practice a sequence of supported postures  using bolsters, blankets and cushions so that the body can safely and gradually release layers of tension.The whole concept of the practice is to rest the doing, goal-oriented aspects of our nervous system that is served by regular asana practice, and to tap into the being, process-oriented aspects where things just take the time they need as a way of restoring physical, mental and emotional balance.

CY: So, would you say that anyone can join Restorative Yoga?

Beverley: Yes, definitely, but some practices have the usual precautions and prohibitions for example in the case of pregnancy.

CY: And what are the benefits of Restorative Yoga?

Beverley: An incredible lightness of being, when the practice goes well! It invites relaxation from the surface muscles to the deep tissues of the body. It gives you time to experience a posture from the inside-out, to really know what it feels like to rotate the spine for example, and to track the currents of the breath. It also develops the discipline of sensitivity, quietness and steadiness required of the more contemplative practices including pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation.

CY: That sounds great, thank you Beverley. Is there anything you would like to add?

Beverley: Yes, just to say that we will be offering a training in Restorative Yoga and another in Yoga Therapeutics next year, so if anyone had any questions about that, I’d be happy to talk to them. I use these and other associated skills in my movement therapy practice to create a container for individual healing, and it is beautiful work with many positive outcomes.

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Come along to one of our Restorative Yoga or Meditation classes to relax and get rid of your stress of everyday life.

Restorative Yoga - Every Friday 11.30-12.45pm

Meditation class - Every Sunday 17.30-18.30pm