Hi, I'm Emmie
For a long time I’ve been interested in the subtle, the gentle, the spaces in between. I received a writing and communications degree from UTS in 2011 and spent the next few years producing poetry chapbooks and events, speaking on panels and publishing poetry on travel, relationships and the unseen. When writing became my full time gig for the now defunct Australia health food site I Quit Sugar, I realised I was in the wrong place.
Originally certified as a Vinyasa Yoga teacher, my interest in rest first led me to train with Sarah Powers as a Yin Yoga teacher and then all over the world to become a certified Restorative Yoga teacher via Roger Cole & Judith Lasater. I then went on to assist Lizzie Laster in Restorative Yoga Teacher Trainings.
My take on Restorative goes beyond simply laying over a bolster and doing nothing; it is a rich daily practice of rest to invite into life a sense of ease, spaciousness & joy. It is a combination of movement, stretch, stillness & reflection. Rest develops creativity, intuition, clarity and confidence. Rest will make you a better friend, lover, business person and parent. I dare you to try it.
What is Restorative Yoga?
A path to deep relaxation through supported yoga asana
The measurable benefits - reduction of blood pressure, insomnia, adrenal and general fatigue; improved immune function, digestion and fertility, are in and of themselves enough reason to add restorative yoga to your weekly routine. However, through my own practice and feedback a few main themes have come through.
Clarity: Many students report an increase in clarity at the end of the class / session or during the asanas themselves. Particularly in terms of creative work, ideas or insight into current life situations.
Intuition: Restorative yoga allows for a deep and compassionate connection with the body, breath, emotions and mind. Leading to an ongoing experience of heightened intuition and comfort in your own skin.
Beauty: It's no secret a dynamic asana practice will tone your body on the way to enlightenment (or love, wholeness – however you see it) and restorative has surface level benefits too.
Most skin issues take root in stress - acne, excema, roasecea, you name it. Managing stress is often the first step in solving skin issues, and while you learn to drop into the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, the practice may reveal to you the exact cause of this stress.
During times of stress, cortisol is released into the bloodsteam, encouraging a process called glycation; an effect on the skin that damages collagen, hardening it, increasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Deep relaxation is essential in keeping the skin soft, supple and smooth. Leaving class can feel like leaving a day spa - and you might look like it too!
HOW IT WORKS
Restorative Yoga is the practice of holding specific yoga asana (postures) for an extended period of time with the use of props like bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps to support, cushion and cradle the body. Low light, warmth and appropriate soundtracks are used to deepen the relaxation experience.
HOW IT FEELS
It all depends. On the asanas in the sequence, the day or week you've had and the regularity with which you practice. Often in the beginning the mind will wander or even panic in extended periods of stillness without stimulation. A lot may come up. You may feel emotional. You may fall asleep. Over time, the ability to rest in that space between wakefulness and sleep develops. You learn to effortlessly activate your inbuilt relaxation response. You feel held, supported, floating or nurtured. You feel the weight of anxiety, stress and muscular tension release.
The experience you have within the practice itself will vary. In many ways, Restorative Yoga is simply the art of getting out of your own way, giving permission for any response to unfold and allowing the natural intelligence of the body to take over and facilitate healing on a very deep level.