In January my Vinyasa classes are always pretty packed. Many people decided as their New Year’s resolution to become fitter, healthier, more active and so on. I see a lot of Newbies pushing themselves sometimes pretty hard to fulfill this goal.  But what about making this New Year’s resolution a bit more holistic?

Don’t get me wrong. If you change the couch for the Yoga mat, I am very happy. But the Yang part of Yoga is only one side of the coin. That’s why I always recommend my students to also try out Restorative Yoga.

A Restorative class looks from the outside like not much is happening. And to be honest, externally not much is happening and the amount of calories you burn is rather small. But it’s about whats happening inside.

If you are not familiar with Restorative Yoga, let’s explain the concept in a nutshell. The poses are held quite long compared to a Flow class and a lot of props are used. It’s not about a great physical sensation, the goal is to really restore the body and calm down the mind and nervous system.

Be honest to yourself. How much time do you spend on average just with yourself without doing anything. No, no, no – an evening of Netflix doesn’t count. I am talking about being still, with no distractions from the outside world. Just disconnect with everything. Even in a fast Vinyasa class, you are still partially entertained through the teacher and the choreographed flow.

With all this new technology we are surrounded by, it is difficult to be without distraction. And we get used to this very easily. Just pay attention to yourself when you use the bus or tram. How long does it take after you sat down until you check your phone? Can you pay attention to something for longer than five minutes without distraction? And even worse: Can you pay attention to stillness and quietness for longer than a few minutes?

The challenging part in the Restorative class is therefore not the body – which is ideally rested very comfortably on a lot of props – but the mind. Being able to let go, to slow down and accept the lack of distraction.

But body and mind are not separate things. So, if you manage to calm down the nervous system and mind, you will experience a lot of physical benefits as well. A lot of tension is building up through stress and some of it we sometimes don’t even notice.

So helping the body to restore can give you relief with physical issues like lower back pain, headaches and even help to lose weight. You obviously won’t lose much weight in the class itself. But learning to release tension and stress will help in the future to deal better with these situations where it is so tempting to go for the ice cream and bag of chips.

You will be more productive afterwards, since your mind got a break. Did you ever hear about somebody having creative ideas while checking facebook updates or Instagram likes? No, of course not. Creativity comes when you give your mind some space to unfold.

If you decided for 2019 to become healthier, why not do it 360-degree and have a regular workout for the body… but also for the mind?!