How to Use Restorative Yoga for Injury Recovery

By: Isabella Koepf, Yoga Therapist, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Nutritionist, Ayurvedic Practitioner, 500-Hour Yoga Teacher, Health Coach

How to Use Restorative Yoga for Injury Recovery

How to Use Restorative Yoga for Injury Recovery

Restorative yoga is an excellent practice to heal from an injury and support your overall recovery. You can heal faster through customized restorative yoga for injury recovery by helping your body, mind, and soul throughout the healing process. When your body is relaxed, then it can heal properly, and what better way to relax than through restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga is a powerful practice to support injury recovery, but it is crucial to understand how restorative yoga can help you in your healing process before diving in. In this article, we will go over the benefits of restorative yoga for injury recovery and how you can use restorative yoga for injury recovery in your own life. So, let’s begin!

What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga is a unique yoga style that emphasizes relaxation and rest. Unlike other yoga styles, in a restorative yoga class, you typically will not stand at all during the practice and will spend most of the time lounging around on your mat. But these poses aren’t just about taking a therapeutic rest; they subtly shift the energetic systems of your body and can support your nervous system in reregulating after an injury.

Restorative yoga utilizes specific yoga poses with supportive props to facilitate your body and mind into a state of deep inner peace. Restorative yoga poses often involve very light or gentle stretches but are typically supposed to be effortless. Through the use of plenty of props, your body can feel completely supported and melt into each yoga pose during your restorative yoga class.

Restorative yoga offers innumerable benefits to the body, mind, and soul. This healing practice integrates physical movement, deep meditation, and diaphragmatic breathing to shift your nervous system into a state of relaxation, support your body’s healing processes, and activate your intuitive connection to your inner spirit.

Is It Safe to Practice Restorative Yoga When You Are Injured?

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about the safety of yoga during or after an injury. Of course, it is always advised to take the guidance of your doctor before engaging in any practices while injured or after an injury. But restorative yoga is a profoundly gentle and supportive practice that is likely safe for all people.

Many of the risks related to yoga practice come from more aerobic practices or power yoga classes that have a chance of worsening injury. However, with the proper guidance, movement can be profoundly therapeutic and can support your body during the recovery process. Restorative yoga is an excellent practice for those struggling with injury recovery to gently help your body during the healing process.

10 Ways to Use Restorative Yoga for Injury Recovery

1.     Give Yourself Permission to Rest

A common issue during injury recovery is that many people struggle to slow down or give themselves the time and space to recover fully. Taking a restorative yoga class is like taking a time-out from life. You have a beautiful opportunity to simply be present on your mat and melt into every pose. With the complete support of the props underneath you, your body can fully release into the poses and feel at ease.

What Will You Learn in a Restorative YTT

2.     Explore Therapeutic Movement

Due to the slow and gentle nature of a restorative yoga class, it is an excellent option after injury recovery when you are just beginning to explore movement but don’t want to push yourself too hard. Taking a slow approach to movement initially can help you tune into your body’s limitations and honor the edges of your practice. Through this gentle approach of restorative yoga, you can give your body the time to find what feels most comfortable and settle into a state of ease.

3.     Dive Into Meditation

Restorative yoga is so much more than a physical yoga practice; it can also be profoundly therapeutic for your mind. During restorative yoga classes, many yoga teachers guide their students through nourishing meditations that add an extra layer to the restorative yoga practice. Meditation can help your body relax and support the healing process by reducing inflammation in the body and facilitating the flow of nutrients throughout your circulatory system.

4.     Harness the Power of the Breath through Pranayama

Breathwork is also often added into restorative yoga sessions to deepen the therapeutic process. When you engage in deep breathing, your body naturally releases anti-inflammatory compounds throughout the body that can help to reduce swelling, fight off infection, and strengthen your immune system. Relaxing your body gives these healing processes time to work and focus their energy in one place rather than diverting your energy towards other movements.

5.     Gently Stimulate Digestion

During injury recovery, many people report that they develop issues with their digestive system. When you are recovering from an injury, your body is often in an activated fight-or-flight state to stave off infection and support healing. Through restorative yoga practice, you can shift out of this activated state and into the rest-and-digest mode, which can help facilitate healing and support your digestive function. A healthy digestive system supports the wellbeing of your entire body, mind, and spirit system!

6.     Utilize the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection

Restorative yoga provides a deeply integrative experience where you can harmonize the layers of the body, mind, and spirit for healing. Many people in our modern society struggle with a disconnection between these layers. But when they are integrated, you can access more profound inner wisdom and harness your innate healing potential within. By balancing the body, mind, and spirit connection with restorative yoga, you can revitalize your internal state and access the healing powers that have always been present within you.

7.     Find Relief from Chronic Pain

Restorative yoga is often considered the best practice for supporting chronic pain. At the end of the day, pain is a sensory experience from your nerves firing intensely, leading to the experience of pain. While this is not meant to diminish the very real and severe experience of pain, it is intended to add a perspective that perhaps a way of relieving pain is by going through the mind and sensory experience. In restorative yoga, you can calm down your nervous system and help it establish safety by viewing these sensations as simply sensations and removing the label of pain. Gradually, your body will learn to relax and find ease from chronic pain.

8.     Invite Your Muscles to Relax

After an injury, there is a common phenomenon known as armoring in which the surrounding muscles near the injured area become activated and tense. This is meant as a protective action by your body to support recovery and prevent further injury. However, over time, this can actually worsen your recovery and increase the pain. By inviting your muscles to relax safely through conscious movement in restorative yoga, you can restore circulation into every area of your body and reduce the experience of chronic pain after injuries.

9.     Build Inner Resiliency

Facing injury recovery can be a profoundly mentally and emotionally exhausting process. Having to wake up every day and support your healing can take a lot of capacity, and sometimes all you need is to rest and restore. Through restorative yoga, you can refill your well of energy and build resiliency to face the challenges of injury recovery once you are off the mat. Through daily restorative yoga, your body will be able to replenish from exhaustion and find newfound energy to move forward through this arduous process.

10.  Heal the Nervous System

A commonly forgotten component in the physical healing process is the nervous system. When your body is injured, this inherently impacts your mind and spirit as well. Through restorative yoga, you can support your nervous system to heal and replenish, thereby supporting your physical body as well. When we take into account the entire being that needs healing, we can target recovery on multiple levels and access a greater capacity for healing than ever before.

Become a Restorative Yoga Teacher Online in Our Online Restorative Yoga Teacher Training Course!

Restorative yoga is one of the most remarkable therapeutic processes within yoga practice and provides many opportunities for deep rest, nourishment, and healing both on and off the mat. Whether you are an experienced yoga practitioner or a complete beginner, restorative yoga is an essential practice for every yoga student to have in their toolkit. The healing potential of restorative yoga is unlike anything you will ever experience!

As a restorative yoga teacher, you have a beautiful opportunity to support others during their recovery process and facilitate this healing for others. Additionally, learning restorative yoga gives you the tools to practice on your own and become your own healer. If you are interested in taking the next step to becoming a restorative yoga teacher, make sure to check out our online restorative yoga teacher training. This continuing education course to become a restorative yoga teacher online gives you all the tools you need to take the next step in your life. Reach out to us today for more information and to begin this exciting process!


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