Completing Your Costa Rica Vacation with Restorative Yoga

A visit to Costa Rica is not complete without taking yoga classes, especially one that isintended for the restoration of your physical health. While there are many types of yoga, restorative yoga is one that provides a wide range of benefits for people of all ages, but more so for those who struggle with a number of chronic health issues.

woman meditating on the beach


What is Restorative Yoga?

This particular practice concentrates on activating the parasympathetic nervous system,
in order to bring physical, emotional, and mental relaxation. It essentially reboots the
body to its “factory settings” before copious amounts of toxins and high levels of stress
wreaked havoc in your system.

BKS Iyengar, who is touted as one of the greatest yoga masters that ever lived, is widely
credited for creating this type of restorative practice. This master is known for instructing
his students to use props to improve their yoga poses. Modern restorative yoga poses
involve the use of props as well.

Main Benefits

Chronic Pain Relief

The Poses as well as breathing exercises you can learn in restorative yoga classes help
release serotonin and endorphins, which effectively counteracts pain. The exercises
would help anyone who suffer from any kind of chronic pain as in the case of migraines,
cluster headaches, back, neck, and leg pain, etc.

A number of studies have shown promising results as far as using restorative yoga to
replace daily pain medication.
Effective Reduction of Cortisol

Stress is an ever present risk factor that can lead to serious health issues such as heart
failure, hypertension, and other cardiovascular anomalies. Restorative poses such as
Child’s pose, legs against the wall, and reclining bound angle help lower Cortisol levels,
which translates to less stress and allows more room for relaxation.

Natural Remedy for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, parasomnia, somnambulism, and many others are caused by imbalance, which is corrected by the combination of poses and breathing exercises. With regular practice, restorative yoga poses can help reset the body’s internal clock, which determines regular sleeping pattern.

While it would take a few weeks or even months of practicing restorative yoga in order to reap the full benefits, you can expect positive changes in your sleeping habits a few sessions. Beginners are usually taught to concentrate on breathing exercises as well as relaxation poses in order to achieve a sense of calm, which is necessary to reach REM stage of sleep.

Increased Metabolic Rate

Yoga has been known as a natural weight loss method, but restorative poses are particularly linked to reduced fat deposits in the body due to faster metabolism.  While there has yet to be a definitive study on the effects of restorative poses to an individual’s BMI, many case studies have shown a radical reduction in body fat percentage (7% in women and 9% in men) after 3 months of continuous practice.

It is very important to note that compared to most other forms of weight loss regimen, restorative yoga is a low-impact activity.  This means people of all ages can do this type of exercise since it does not require a lot of lifting, running, or other activities that can be stressful for the elderly and those who are nursing injuries.

Increased Insulin Efficiency

This is strongly connected with weight loss, since the body’s response to insulin can be hampered by added lipids.  When the body becomes insulin resistant, it puts a lot of stress on the pancreas, which then creates a chain reaction that results in increased levels of glucose in the blood.  As the body loses all the extra fat, the insulin produced is utilized well, which allows for the effective regulation of blood sugar levels.

People with type 2 diabetes would benefit greatly from practicing restorative yoga daily.  With constant practice, the restorative benefits of this type of yoga can negate the effects of diabetes, and avoid the complications that may arise from this degenerative disease.

What to Expect

When you take a restorative yoga class in any yoga retreat center in Costa Rica, you can expect to find not only a well versed teacher but also all the props you will need for the sessions.  Among the most common props used include:

  • bolsters
  • pillows
  • blankets
  • blocks
  • chairs
  • straps

kids practicing aerial yoga

Many people who attend restorative yoga classes for the first time find the experience not only easy but also rather enjoyable.  The poses are much less complicated than most other types of yoga and the relaxing effects are almost instantaneous.  Even those who are not as limber as they hope to be would be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are able to keep up with the instructions and poses.

Restorative Yoga Teachers and Studios

Dori Matthews Thomsen is certified yoga instructor who offers restorative yoga classes in addition to being a certified Thai massage instructor.  One of the most dedicated yoga instructors in Costa Rica, she also offers Hot Detox, which is a good accompaniment to restorative classes.  The combined effects of flushing out toxins through Hot Detox and the relaxing effects of restorative poses can bring wonderful effects in your system.  Her yoga studio Your Zen Yoga is among the most popular wellness destinations in Costa Rica, especially for guests (couples, groups, and individuals) who are looking to get private instructions.

Montezuma Yoga is another great place to learn restorative yoga, especially if you like wooden open spaces that have plenty of ventilation.  They offer yoga classes in all levels, and have experienced instructors that provide the ultimate yoga retreat experience.

You have the option of taking individual classes, or avail of the yoga retreat package that is offered by yoga studios in Montezuma and other neighboring areas.  Fees for restorative yoga sessions range from $25 per person to $1200 per day for retreat packages, which include lodging and healthy meals.  If you want a well-rounded experience that allows you to learn the core practices of restorative and other styles of yoga, you would certainly be better off with a retreat package.

Thousands of people journey to Costa Rica to enjoy nature at its best, and have a complete experience that can change the way they view their physical and spiritual help. The options in terms of classes, instructors, and venues are plentiful so there is something for everyone’s  needs and preferences.

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