After many weeks’ hiatus, I returned to my beloved Candlelight Yoga last week. After my favorite instructor Susie headed to India, I just didn’t think the class would be the same, but I was pleasantly surprised to find her replacement also led the class through a similar practice.
This week’s class confirmed my love for candlelight yoga is not ONLY associated with my instructor, but also for those beautiful moon salutations. My body seemed so happy to be back in these poses and to be performing these vinyasas. Talk about feeling like a million bucks!
When I first arrived at the studio, there were several instructors outside unloading a car full of props. I started thinking it was an INSANE amount of props, but then I remembered how many you use for restorative yoga… and it all made sense.
The classroom was completely full! 16 students in total, we all needed wall space for some inversions… somehow we made it work. Are you curious about the props?
How about the following: 4 blankets, 3 sandbags, 2 bolsters, a strap, an eye pillow, a block, and some tennis balls in a sock. SERIOUSLY! And, my mat, which I brought, of course…
Why the heck did we need so much gear?? Restorative yoga is a “relaxing and meditative practice where the body is fully supported in poses for 5-20 minutes, during which time accumulated tension is released by deeply stretching muscles and connective tissue.” Rather than actively positioning yourself in the poses, you instead “receive the pose” completely supported by props.
The class was taught by the lovely Claire, and the class was filled with a lot of her regulars. Claire teaches restorative yoga at the studio and is passionate about it (to say the least.) While it was my first class with her, I’m certain it won’t be my last.
I’d only taken restorative yoga once…. and I kind of felt like I was taking a nap. So, I was curious to learn a little more about the practice and why its important. For the first 45 minutes, we went through a document that talked about the science behind both practices. Afterward, Claire led us through a series of poses.
The truth is, we all live in a stressful state during most hours of the day, and we don’t always give the body a chance to release that stress. Despite popular belief, sleep doesn’t release this stress either. You have to actively release the stress, in that sweet spot between consciousness and sleep.
Breathing is EXTREMELY key to this process. Yes, I know that you have to breathe to LIVE, but the deep, rhythmic breathing is one of the strongest tools you have to release stress.
Claire also shared with us a lot of information about aromatherapy and the power of essential oils. She spoke of the importance of using therapeutic grade for the highest level of impact. She recommended Young Living brand, but warned us that it was pretty expensive.
Overall, it really got me thinking about essential oils and how I can incorporate them more. I need to do some research as to which ones I should be using regularly. I’m excited to understand more!
She also passed around a few different oils and blends for us to smell, and also used them on us while we settled into poses. Peace and Calming was one of my favorites, along with Lavender. Such amazing scents!
The entire experience lasted about 2 1/2 hours, and I can’t even tell you how fantastic I felt when I walked out the doors of the studio. It had snowed pretty heavily while we were practicing, and it was just beautiful when I walked outside.
I absolutely loved this experience, and I’m going to keep my eyes out for more workshops like this in the future. What a great way to spend a Saturday!!!
Have you ever done restorative yoga? Do you use aromatherapy?