Rx – Restorative Yoga

RX Yoga

By: Noreen Isotani, RYT 200

RX Yoga“Bend your body – mend your mind.”

I like this phrase because your mind is stronger than your body. Your mind can heal your body.  But, your body cannot heal your mind.

Your mind is in the body and the body is in the mind.

Restorative yoga (RY) is a simple practice that can help with very complex needs of the body.

The easiest way to illustrate it is by observing three individuals:

Individual #1: Type A Personality

The first individual is very competitive – a Type A personality with a multitude of responsibilities.

She drinks more coffee than usual and eats snacks full of sugar. She is in a constant fight or flight frenzy – answering hundreds of emails daily and always in meetings.

To help manage stress, at the end of the day she goes for a 5K run. She is literally addicted to the hormone adrenalin. Hormones are powerful and affect just about every tissue in the body.

Individual #2: Motor Vehicle Accident Victim

The second individual was involved in car accident and suffered trauma. He suffers tremendously from chronic pain. Especially, during the night, the pain seems to be even more intense.

His doctor has prescribed tranquilizers for sleep. But, lately the pills don’t seem to work.

The brain is connected to the nervous system and continually cycles through the protective pain response. It has learned to do it so well, that the body feels even more pain not less because it has become so efficient. The brain has learned to “do” chronic pain.  It must be given something else to learn.

Learn about motor vehicle accident rehabilitation at BodyMend.

Individual #3: Pursuing Weight Loss Goals

The third person is trying to lose weight and is very careful about the foods she eats. Yet, the weight is not going down but slowly creeping upwards.

She is not eating a lot of calories, yet her stomach is getting bigger – more extended and bloated.

She suffers from chronic anxiety and is constantly worried about people and events that she cannot control. Stress produces the commander viagra france hormone cortisol and causes belly fat to accumulate around the waist. This type of fat is extremely dangerous as it may lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Elevated levels of cortisol also stimulate emotional eating.

Just thinking about a stressful event can start the fight or flight response and lead to higher levels of cortisol production in the body. These powerful hormones stay in your system for a long time.

Learn about the connection between stress and weight gain.

The Antidote: Restorative Yoga!

Restorative yoga can help with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Back pain
  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Poor healing capability
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia

Practicing restorative yoga produces the relaxation response and switches the body from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode. It brings balance to the nervous system.

Restorative yoga is gentle and nurturing to the body. The muscles do not contract or stretch. The body is supported with bolsters and blankets so that the pose will feel effortless. By holding the pose longer than a few minutes, the muscles have a chance to release at the deepest layer and stretch back into their proper length.  When muscles relax they become stronger.

By practising restorative yoga regularly, you will optimize your performance “on the court”. You will experience more energy, your muscles will be firing at their normal extension, and the risk of injury and pain will decrease.

The breath work in restorative yoga is very important in calming the mind. Conscious breathing stills the mind and helps connect mind to body. Over time, you will develop a new awareness of what is going on inside your body. New pathways are created – away from all the chatter of your past and future.

It allows the body to heal itself from within. It is slow cook healing, not a quick fix.

The body turns off the stress response and directs the energy to growth, repair, immune function, digestion, and other self-nurturing processes. 

The brain gradually re-patterns to create new pathways away from the pain cycle and stretch reflex. The production of cortisol decreases, and therefore the fat around your waist will begin to decrease.

Restorative yoga in conjunction with traditional western therapies will help you achieve optimal well-being that is more sustaining throughout the ebb and flow of your life.

Over time your body will fall easily into this relaxed state instead of in a state of constant chronic emergency. Restorative yoga will restore your life force energy. It will strengthen your ability to listen internally and cultivate a kinderand more tuned-in relationship with yourself and with other people in your life.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”.

  • Walt Emerson


>> Are you recovering from injury, looking for a healthy way to mend back to better health?  We are pleased to introduce a restorative yoga series led by certified yoga instructor, Noreen Isotoni. Classes will be offered weekly on Thursday evenings at the BodyMend Wellness Clinic. Call 905-456-8196 or email us at for more details.  

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