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Sarah helping to adjust clients at a recent restorative class

Restorative yoga is a deeply relaxing, meditative, and therapeutic practice in which you learn to release tension and be at ease in your body and mind by allowing the earth and the props to completely support you. It’s the perfect antidote for our fast-paced, stressed-out lives. On this Q&A, Sarah Orlowicz answers the most common questions about Restorative Yoga.

How does Restorative Yoga work?

Restorative yoga is a receptive practice. At any given time, our bodies are under some level of stress, keeping our nervous system in a constant defensive mode (stress response). Restorative yoga allows us to function in a healing mode (relaxation response) by re balancing the way our nervous system is working.

For someone who’s new to Yoga, what should they expect from your Restorative Yoga class? 

The practice itself is gentle enough for anybody, whether in a hospital bed or a busy NYC studio. In the group classes that I teach, there is some movement and stretching and then we move into our longer, relaxing, restorative poses. We use blankets, blocks, bolsters, eye pillows and other props to mindfully set up these poses for optimal benefits. I am there to support the clients in whatever way I can and help their experience be positive and comfortable. Other than that, expectations can become roadblocks… try to come in with an open mind. The benefits will happen in each practitioner’s own time.

How has yoga affected your own life?

I became a yoga teacher because I wanted to share the benefits that I found in my own practice with others… I think that says it all. Restorative yoga, in particular, has been a life-changing practice for me.

How do you respond to those who say Restorative Yoga is “easy” or “lazy”?

In the western world of workouts, sweat and weight loss resolutions, it’s seen as “easy,” but that’s not what restorative yoga is all about. It’s a meditative practice involving physical relaxation, easing the breath and quieting the mind, which is often more difficult than physical work because of the societal pressure to go, go, go! Restorative yoga is an advanced practice, but, at the same time, is accessible to all. Its benefits can be HUGE, whether it’s the only type of yoga someone does, or is just one of many modalities practiced.

How can Restorative benefit our metabolism?

By physically relaxing the muscles, the vessels that carry blood and lymph throughout our bodies also relax, lowering blood pressure, aiding digestion, and reducing inflammation. Our bodies enter into “rest & digest” mode, releasing hormones that promote wellness throughout, and reducing cortisol, which is a known cause of excess abdominal fat. There’s so much going on under the surface with a practice like this.

Restorative Yoga takes place every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!