Magnolia Yoga Instructor Lauren Best Shapiro
“I didn’t think yoga was for me.”
This is something Magnolia yoga instructor Lauren Best Shapiro has heard many times from people taking her restorative yoga classes. The participants are surprised to find that doing yoga doesn’t require incredible flexibility or strength.
“Restorative yoga is really about meeting people where they are,” Best Shapiro says.
Unlike more active yoga classes, which may go through many challenging poses with people testing the limits of their flexibility, restorative yoga looks to relax the body and mind. It’s ideal for people recovering from injuries or those that want to slowly experience yoga without risking injury.
Best Shapiro accomplishes this by guiding her classes through breathing, becoming aware of the breath; very subtle movements that show the connection between breath and movement; and poses. Instead of quickly moving from pose to pose however, participants relax into the pose, using it to help the body “let go,” as Best Shapiro puts it.
While in other yoga classes a student may push to reach a particular pose, restorative yoga uses props—bolsters, blankets and blocks—to support the body and soften muscles. For instance if a person has back pain and bending can be painful, Best Shapiro will use a bolster under the torso to shorten the bending.
Best Shapiro, an occupational therapist with more than 20 years experience, has been studying and teaching classes in restorative yoga for many years and has been leading restorative yoga classes at Magnolia for the past month. The participants in her class are seeing positive results, especially those with chronic pain and those recuperating from injuries.
“I have one woman with fibromyalgia who told me that she can’t remember when she has felt more relaxed,” Best Shapiro says. “She’s experiencing less pain with increased awareness and understanding of her body.”
Schedule of Classes:
Elmwood location, 5606 Jefferson Highway, Harahan: Saturday morning, 10-11am
Marigny, 2372 St. Claude Ave (located in New Orleans Healing Center: Thursday afternoons, 12:30-1:30 pm
For more information: call Jean Tassara, 504-733-0254