In my early twenties, I’m embarrassed to admit, I worked out six , sometimes even seven, days a week , at the gym.
I’d mostly engage in intense cardio like spinning, with a Pilates and yoga class thrown in here and there, thinking of those as my “rest” days. Then I progressed to half-marathon training, doing very little Pilates, until I eventually tore my labrum in my hip. (Insert shocked emoji.)
Nowadays all I can do is shake my head at my younger self, wishing I’d known what I know now: that a balanced body requires rest and recovery (and yes, a hell of a lot more Pilates). But what I’m only starting to learn is that R & R doesn’t just mean time off from working out and just doing a few extra minutes of stretching at home. It’s finding something that allows you to release both physical and emotional tension on a regular basis.
So when I heard about Yomassage, a group class that incorporates massage and restorative yoga poses, something I often crave but don’t always have the budget for, I couldn’t wait to sign up. Especially since, according to cofounder Tiffany Ryan, PhD, MSW, OR LMT, who began her career as a social worker before training as a yoga instructor and massage therapist, the goal is complete relaxation. “We’re creating an experience where you can become so deeply relaxed,” she says of the method she created with fellow yoga teacher and Yomassage cofounder Katherine Parker in Portland, OR, “where people can incorporate touch into their self-care routine.”
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A CLASS
The elevator pitch of Yomassage is “massage meets restorative yoga in a small group setting.” Clients (up to five at time) lie on the floor in a warm, dimly lit room. During the class, which can range from one to a full two hours and costs from $35 to $50, depending on the city and what the therapist chooses to charge, they’re guided into a series of five to six supported positions that incorporate props like bolsters and blocks; meanwhile, the teacher (who’s a certified massage therapist) circulates among them, going from student to student, offering light- to medium-pressure massage. “Each person receives a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes of touch, because clinical research shows that is what’s required for a decrease in anxiety and depression,” Ryan says. By the end of the session, you’ll have had a full-body massage.
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