Julia Hough has been immersed in teaching and practicing restorative yoga for over 10 years. In the following interview, Julia shares her insights and what it means to feel “yummy” in a pose. For more information about Julia please visit her profile here.
1. Restorative yoga is a beautiful style of yoga, both powerful and gentle. How did you initially come to learn about this type of yoga?
About 15 years ago, a friend took me to a restorative workshop with Judith Lasater. I just loved it!
2. What key intentions do you share with your restorative yoga students?
The key intention is to allow yourself to let cares and responsibilities drift away for the time you are practicing the yoga.
3. Please share any personal transformations and insights that you’ve gained through your practice of restorative yoga.
Time and time again, restorative yoga teaches me that I don’t have to push to achieve, and that I have everything I need within.
4. In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of restorative yoga?
5. If you could name one pose that has truly supported you in a way that allowed you to open, release, and restore your body and mind unlike any other pose what was that pose and why was it so empowering?
Baddha Konasana, or bound angle. It’s empowering because it brings energy to the first two chakras, and it nourishes the endocrine glands.
6. Would you say you are a different person after practicing restorative yoga? In what ways has restorative yoga changed your life?
Restorative yoga has helped me to feel more grounded in my life.
7. What would you recommend to students that are new to restorative yoga?
It’s important to be in touch with your body, so I do recommend some active yoga experience before taking restorative yoga. In fact, in Integral Yoga they see restorative yoga as an advance practice since you are in restorative poses for a few minutes, and if you don’t know your body well, it could cause discomfort.
8. There has been some inquiry for restorative yoga poses for women with breast cancer. Can you suggest any poses that would be particularly helpful?
It would depend on what stage they are in, but Baddha Konasana would be helpful as it would be grounding. One of my friends who has lung cancer says she feels like a bird in a next in that pose.
9. Please share any specialties (ie. Aromatherapy, meditation, sound healing, etc) that you include in your classes and/or areas that you focus on in particular (anxiety, stress relief, chronic pain).
I use mudras, and my focus really depends upon whom I’m working with. I’ve worked a lot with people under stress and with anxiety. I’ve also worked with people with chronic illness and injury.
10. What do you think will be the future for restorative yoga? Do you see the need increasing and in what ways will restorative yoga be able to serve people in the coming years?
The need is there but I feel the problem is that people don’t allow themselves relaxation of this sort. One of my yoga teachers, Gail Zikri, used to say when we were in a restorative pose “If it’s not yummy, it’s not right.” Wouldn’t it be great if we all allowed ourselves more yummy?