The beauty of yoga is that it’s not just a “one size fits all” practice.
From yin to vinyasa to aerial, there’s various styles to choose from. Wherever you’re at emotionally, mentally and physically, there’s a practice that fits your needs. If you’re currently experiencing a sense of burnout and seeking a deep sense of balance and serenity in your life, you may just want to consider giving restorative yoga a try.
True to its name, restorative yoga is uniquely calming and restful. Instead of working the muscles, this practice is all about softening and relaxing them through poses held for extended periods of time. Finding the patience and perseverance to cultivate stillness opens up space for profound healing. Read on to learn more!
The Magic of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga encourages you to relax fully into calming postures for minutes at a time. It’s known for its use of props, like bolsters, eye pillows, scarves or folded blankets to enable gentler, more supportive poses, though it can also be practiced without props.
Restorative yoga moves at a much slower pace than a vinyasa, yin or hatha class. The postures are mostly done lying down or sitting, so you won’t find any Sun Salutations or chaturangas. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “easier.” In our fast-paced society, finding stillness can be the ultimate challenge.
The more you practice restorative yoga, the more you shift yourself out of flight-or-fight mode and into rest-and-digest. This opens up greater empathy, compassion and self-understanding. It’s also known for encouraging a better night’s sleep. Plus, with stress relief comes a powerful boost to your immune system that benefits your physical health as well.
3 Restorative Poses to Try at Home
Ready to reap the restorative benefits at home? Try these three poses for stress relief and a deep sense of wellbeing. You can hold them for five minutes or 20 minutes. Just listen to what your body needs…and enjoy!
For most of us, the day is spent in a state of external awareness. We’re bombarded with stimuli, distractions and taking care of other people. Child’s pose is like a retreat, one that reconnects you to you.
With your knees spread and your big toes touching, stretch your arms out long in front of you. Get comfy however you need here; you’re welcome to cushion your head, hips or knees with a blanket. With your knees spread and big toes touching, stretch your arms out long in front of you.
Press your palms down into the earth and let your forehead kiss the mat. Relax your belly onto your thighs, and bring awareness to your breath. Take a deep, nourishing inhale; exhale, ground down and surrender to stillness. As you sink and soften into your mat, allow the stress of the day to melt away.
This pose is wonderfully rejuvenating for tired feet and legs. You will need a folded blanket and a yoga mat. If you need extra lower back support, you’re welcome to use an extra folded blanket.
Place the short end of your yoga mat against a wall. Then, set up your blanket as a headrest in the middle of your mat. Sit with your right side against the wall, with bent knees and your feet drawn in toward your hips. Then, swing your legs up supported by the wall as you lie down. The bottom of your feet should face the ceiling.
Keep your glutes as close to the wall as possible. Your arms can rest at your sides or on your stomach. Just like with Child’s pose, stay with your breath and enjoy the release of tension in your lower body!
Savasana (Corpse pose)
Savasana is the ultimate “relaxation” pose. It recalibrates your central nervous system, releases muscular tension, quiets your mind and helps improve your sleep. It even decreases beta brain waves and shifts to slower brain waves.
You can always just use your yoga mat, but below we give the option to use folded blankets or bolsters, too. In essence, savasana is lying still on your back, with your arms naturally resting at your sides and legs long in front of you. For extra comfort, you can place one folded blanket at the top of the mat, and your bolster, or two stacked folded blankets at the end of your mat.