The power and lesson at the core of restorative yoga, for me, is the permission for “doing nothing” — the habit of learning to let go of activity — the resting and deep quiet that allow us to restore, and heal.
I find that my role as “teacher” is partly to invite, model, and hold the space for this stillness. So I think that doing any activity in that space other than simply being there with that person, in the practice, on some level may send a subtle message that some doing is or “should” be happening.
When I’m teaching a private restorative session, while the student is “cooking” — like simmering a pot of squash soup — in the pose, I meditate, practice metta, or do silent visualization. My attention is meditative and with the student as fully as possible.
That said, I do believe that the poses (and the student) work their own magic with or without me. But if they are coming for a session with me, there is something they are seeking from me as the teacher in that moment. I will actively instruct them in setting up and practicing the poses — so that they later can do them on their own — or I dedicate my presence to them during that time.
Thank you, Kristie, for asking a question that inspired this blog.