There is a vast amount of evidence pointing to the benefits of yoga for ailments such as heart disease, asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, burns, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain stemming from low back pain and repetitive strain injuries. Restorative yoga poses provide a deep stretch that restructures the connective tissues and slowly lengthens the muscle without triggering a stretch reflex. Subsequently, a deeper stretch occurs and amplifies the rehabilitation process.
When restorative yoga is used for rehabilitation the therapist can work more deeply into the muscles. Manual therapies and deep tissue techniques are more effective and can be performed in ways otherwise not possible. For instance, the low-load mechanism is supports techniques such as myofascial release. When combined with traditional methods of manual therapies, restorative yoga facilitates a beneficial way to address restrictions of the tight fascial structures and other bound connective tissues. This is why more and more physical therapists and manual therapists are including restorative yoga in their approach to improve flexibility and achieve a healthy range of motion.
Restorative yoga helps to break out of long-standing patterns and muscle imbalances that have been created in the body after years of tension and strain. This style of yoga allows us to improve our body awareness and allows us to free up hardened and locked places in the body. Often the tension in the body (ie. shoulders and neck) are a result of stress. We have conditioned ourselves to hold stress in these areas and have created patterns of holding based on anxiousness, discomfort, or pain. The supportive environment that restorative yoga allows is the ideal place to start unwinding the tension held in our bodies. In order to do this we must first feel grounded and safe and restorative yoga provides this stage for healing.
Though restorative yoga is done at a slower pace than most forms of yoga practice, the results can be profound and even more sustainable. In just a few months of practice, years of tissue imbalances and tightness can start to melt away revealing a better-balanced body. The seemingly set patterns of tight muscles will transform into relaxed, vital muscles. This change is further amplified by the quieting of the mind that takes place in this meditative practice of yoga. In the silence and stillness unlearning of hold habits takes place while muscle re-education allows for improved structure of the body.
Restorative yoga creates a healing environment that is perfect for achieving wellness no matter what the symptoms and root causes may be. Many people begin yoga wanting to make improvements to their health and wellness. As they seek to balance the body they will discover benefits to the mind as well. For example, a patient may require rehab for an ankle sprain, but underlying this issue is poor posture and body mechanics as well as soft tissue imbalances and restrictions. These physical difficulties are further exacerbated by inefficient breathing patterns as well as uncontrolled anxiety. Therefore, the supportive environment of restorative yoga is ideal for rehab especially when a few issues exist.