Relaxing Yoga Styles

Relaxing Yoga Styles

Relaxing Yoga Styles

While there is actually no recognized style of Yoga referred to as “relaxing,” a recent movement (around 1991) has been made to transfer the ideas of yoga that strengthen the mind and connect it with the body to their own subset. In fact, relaxing yoga is closely related (if not the same as) a form of musical and theater study referred to as the Alexander Technique.

While the physical benefits associated with regularly performing a relaxing style of yoga are not as pronounced, when compared to several other more aggressive styles of yoga, the emotional and mental benefits make this style something to consider for virtually everyone. In general, relaxing Yoga routines are typically performed at the end of the day to calm and free the mind of any distractions and stress that it experienced throughout the day.

Like traditional yoga, those looking for aerobic benefits should turn to another style of yoga. To begin studying relaxing yoga, classes are not needed. The movements are simple and easy to understand.

Wear comfortable clothes and secure a yoga mat before beginning to perform any yoga movements. Because relaxing yoga is most often used before bed, changing into pajamas or other sleeping garments is acceptable for any yoga technique emphasizing relaxation.

Relaxing Yoga targets every muscle group in the body or just one. It’s very much up to you during every session. There are specific exercises to address the core such as the child’s pose and some to target the buttocks or quads such as the warrior pose.

Primary Purpose of Relaxing Yoga

Relaxing Yoga connects the mind to the body by using the body to free the mind and allow for more focus and peace. It is not meditation but rather the mind is very busy discovering how the body works. Consider any session in relaxing yoga to be constructive rest.

The mind must focus on how the body works for constructive rest to be successful. When practicing, people are meant to focus on one small area of the body at a time and examine exactly how it works for them. Some of these movements will increase flexibility (one of the purposes of relaxing yoga) but most will address the primary and obvious purpose to relax.

Types of Movements and Functions Typically Performed Within This Style

Relaxing Yoga Styles

All movements are gentle and slow in this style. Some are more involved than others but to start you can try this full session of relaxation yoga designed to take 20 minutes. Don’t take the times too literally, move at your own pace.

Before Starting: Ensure that you are dressed comfortably. Remove any objects from your pocket, turn the phone off, and secure a location with minimal distractions. Some people find that playing some soothing music on while doing this activity is very relaxing.

5 minutes: Lie down on the floor in the supine position (on back) and find the most comfortable position for YOUR body. Do not remain motionless.

Breathing should not be labored but rather natural. The body wants to take in air at a steady pace. By all means, let the body perform its natural function. Slip into a relaxed state that allows for the next portion of exercise.

10 minutes: Begin by addressing one portion of your body. This can be a hand or foot or even a single finger. Close your eyes and begin to move the body part around. How does it move? Can you feel the separate bones and muscles that are involved in the movement? What other muscles that are not in the body part are involved in its movement?

You may have time to explore another region of the body but do not rush. Remain relaxed and focused on exactly what is going on with the one part that you are addressing. This is also a great opportunity to focus on a minor ache or pain. Massage any portion of your body that is painful or tender. Don’t push so that it causes more pain but rather explore exactly which muscles are aching. This can be very freeing and has been shown to relieve some types of aches if performed correctly.

5 minutes: Total body exploration is the goal of these last few minutes. Open your eyes. Explore the big picture rather than the small parts. How does your body fit together? The spine is not a flat board so try to find its curve through gentle movement.

Notice that the bones in your arms actually cross over one another when the wrist flips from the palm facing up to down. How does that work to you? Draw a line where the outside bone of the forearm lies or where you think it should be while your palm is facing up. Turn your palm over and watch what happens to the line. (It would be best to prepare for this last part before starting to avoid a break in the relaxation.)

Is Relaxing Yoga for You?

When choosing one or more styles of yoga, it is important to decide what goals you are trying to accomplish. If you are aiming to reduce stress or find inner peace, then considering relaxing yoga is wise. If you are looking to lose weight and strengthen muscles, consider another style of yoga.

Many people combine relaxing yoga with another style such as fast-paced to incorporate all aspects of the activity. Almost all classes in other forms of yoga will begin and end with relaxing movements and exercises to warm up.

Facts and Statistics

The average 180 pound male will burn anywhere from 113 to 175 calories per hour depending on the extremity of the exercises. While regularly performing a relaxing type of yoga will not create a high caloric expenditure, the primary benefits derived are related to the mind in the form of mental clarity, focus, and inner peace.

Relaxing Yoga Styles

A 2002 study of 35 people that did relaxing yoga for 20 minutes a day revealed marked improvements in mood and severe drops in blood pressure (135/95 average) to (120/80 average). The group had only been doing the activities for 6 weeks.

A recent study of relaxing yoga as it relates to sleep revealed that people who regularly engage in relaxing yoga at least one hour before going to sleep were: 56% more likely to fall asleep in 10 minutes or less; 67% more likely to stay asleep; 78% more likely to awake feeling rested and rejuvenated. The study used a testing group of 15 and a control group of 25.

Studies have shown that adding relaxing yoga to any conventional diet plan (along with exercise) is more successful than a diet and exercise plan that does not incorporate relaxing yoga. A 2008 study showed that in a group of 30 people, 18 people were able to stick to a diet and lose their goal amount of weight in the time allotted. 15 of the successful people had incorporated relaxing yoga into their diet plans.

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