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Ask the Expert: Restorative Yoga

Women laying in supported corpse pose in restorative yoga

Sheri Plough, restorative yoga instructor at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, discusses restorative yoga, how it differs from regular yoga, how it can benefit patients and much more.

What is restorative yoga and how does it differ from regular yoga?

Restorative yoga is often considered more meditation than movement, making it a practice everyone can do regardless of age, gender, size or athletic ability. It offers beautiful benefits such as mindfulness, soothing our parasympathetic nervous system, relaxes the body, deepens self-awareness and allows us to feel safe and nurtured. The overall goal is to rest and restore yourself. Muscular release offers an internal retreat for the body. It differs from regular yoga because you are receiving the pose, rather than doing the pose. Each supported pose is held for five to ten minutes while focusing on breathing. We use props such as a bolster, blocks, blankets and eye pillows. Chairs can be incorporated as well.

What can patients expect at a restorative yoga class?

Total bliss and relaxation!

In what ways can restorative yoga benefit cancer patients during treatment, as well as cancer survivors?

Restorative yoga activates a relaxation response and can help relieve feelings of anxiety with minimal physical effort. If you have surgical complications or complex physical limitations, restorative yoga eliminates the need fit yourself into the more complicated active yoga poses. For patients who are sedentary, restorative yoga can be a great steppingstone to a more robust exercise program.

What would you say to someone who may be hesitant to try restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga is one of the most effective ways to rest and recover. Before we heal, we need to rest. When we feel rested, we have the energy to heal, to carry on and to contribute to others healing. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

What is your goal when working with patients at the Community Cancer Center?

To encourage a healthy lifestyle and create an ideal environment for deep relaxation when teaching restorative yoga.

When can readers join you for a restorative yoga session?

Check the events calendar on the Nassif Community Cancer Center website for the latest schedule. We plan to hold restorative yoga classes every six to eight weeks!

Sheri Plough

Sheri Plough has been a certified yoga instructor for seven years and has taught restorative yoga for the past six years. She has extensive training in restorative and chair yoga, with over 800 hours of coursework completed to earn her multiple instructor certifications. She keeps up on the latest techniques through online continuing education courses.


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