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Restorative Yoga
13 October 2015

Restorative Yoga
13 October 2015

Restorative Yoga

Ah, Restorative Yoga
“Taking steps is easy, standing still is hard”

These lyrics from the “Orange is the New Black” theme song have been haunting my mind of late. Yeah, “Standing still is hard”. So much easier to flit around, busy, busy, lots to do, always something new! Stillness can provide pathways to serenity, revitalization, and insight. However, the experience of standing still can also, at times, be unsettling at best and completely unhinging at worst.

And so our clever minds find ways to fill the spaces and protect us from the agitation that often accompanies quietude, even as we know on some deeper level the immense value that lies in the quiet moments. To practice restorative yoga is to engage in a countercultural rebellion against mindlessness, stress, and unchecked activity. This practice is a gift we give ourselves. A chance to unplug and recharge so that we may reenter our world more fully present and appreciative of all of the gifts these summer days have to offer.

Restorative yoga is therapeutic regardless of the season but the benefits are especially relevant in the summer months. After forced dormancy during the long winter, we New Englanders are inclined to take advantage of every last minute of our 16+ hours of sunlit days when summer finally comes. This pursuit of activity is fantastic as long as it’s balanced with proper rest of mind and body.

By combining asana with elements of mindfulness meditation, restorative yoga works to bring equilibrium to the central nervous system, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing for the body to attend to such vital functions as digestion, elimination, circulation, and reproduction that are often neglected when the sympathetic nervous system is constantly in charge. The benefits of restorative yoga include but are not limited to: increased immune system functioning, better sleep, lowered blood pressure, improved digestion, reduced subjective stress levels, and increased feelings of overall well-being. Basically all things associated with being a healthy human being! Injury, illness, and aging can also be compelling calls to practice slowness.

I clearly remember my first restorative class because I hated it. For 90 minutes my mind raced with thoughts varying on the theme of “IM SO BORED” as my body fidgeted with props trying to find a deeper stretch. I left the class resisting a strong desire to ask for my money back.  We hadn’t done anything! We just lay around draped over props. I missed the point, and would continue to miss it for some time.
It took some time, but now I get it and my life is better because of it.

Recently, an x-ray revealed a compression fracture in my thoracic spine and a dexascan brought to light the osteopenia in my bones, the likely culprit of the fracture. So, my body has asked me to slow down and take it easy for a bit. And while my body still longs for inversions and arm balances, thankfully I have also developed strong roots in restorative yoga that will sustain me through this time. I can’t say that I would have chosen this obstacle but it is proving to be educational. I’m reminded of how fragile these bodies and souls of ours are. I’m reminded to be gentler, more thoughtful, and more grateful across the board. Thank you, compression fracture, and thank you restorative yoga.

All this is a long winded invitation for you to join me in the practice of restorative yoga this summer at UVY (see June and July registration information). But more than that, even if our paths never cross, I would encourage everyone to add a touch more quietness, slowness, and gentleness to your life no matter where your summer and your practices takes you.

—Miriah Wall


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The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $18

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $15

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

10-Class Pass, $145

Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $130

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

5-Class Pass, $80

Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $70

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

Unlimited Yoga Passes

Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $150

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $390

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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