Restorative Yoga is so much more than resting. It’s also more than just yoga. Yes, it is yoga, and it is deeply restful but because it allows us to stay in these nourishing poses for longer periods of time than usual it helps us feel even better. It enables us to relax, slow our breathing, and focus on the present movement.
When the body enters a state of relaxation, it releases tension. In turn, when the body releases tension, the mind can relax too. Win, win!
The effortless relaxation of the body and muscles in restorative yoga allows the mind to consciously relax and release tension.
Restorative yoga is a deeply soothing practice that is accessible to everyone regardless of prior yoga experience. The only “work” that you need to do is pay attention to your breath, notice any sensations in your body, and observe any thoughts that enter your mind. And then come back to your breath and pay attention again.
As you settle into restorative poses, you will notice your breath slowing down and your heart rate decreasing. This allows your body to release feel good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Incorporating restorative yoga into your normal routine will cultivate a state of relaxation and create a sense of well-being with lowered anxiety and a more optimistic outlook on life.
Typically, it does require some yoga props to effortlessly relax into these long holds. This short sequence, however, only needs a bolster (which is easily substituted with a couple firm pillows) and our last pose requires nothing more than a wall to lean against.
Here’s a short restorative yoga sequence that can change your outlook today. As you move through the poses, use the intention: Today I am relaxed. Today I am receptive.
Supported Spinal Twist
- Lengthens the side body
- Aids digestion
- Evens out imbalances by holding each side for the same duration
How to come into Supported Spinal Twist with a bolster:
- Place the bolster lengthwise on your mat.
- Sit with the outside of your left hip touching the bolster and your knees bent with your feet over to the right.
- Turn your chest to face the bolster.
- With one hand on each side of the bolster, gently lower the front of your torso onto the bolster.
- For a gentler version, turn your head the same direction that your knees are facing.
- If your neck feels good and you want more intensity, you may choose to turn your head to face in the opposite direction like in the picture above.
Rest here for 3-5 minutes.
Repeat on the other side.
Supported Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Supported Upavista Konasana)
- Lengthens muscles along the spine
- Stretches the inner thighs and hamstrings
- Quiets the mind
How to come into Supported Wide-Legged Forward Fold
- Open your legs almost as wide as possible.
- Place the bolster between your legs, lengthwise on the mat.
- With your spine long, walk your hands along the sides of the bolster to lower your chest onto it.
- Bring your forehead to rest on the bolster or your stacked hands.
- If your forehead doesn’t reach, stack some folded blankets on top of the bolster until you’re comfortable.
- Alternatively, you can turn your head to one side then switch halfway through like in the picture above.
Rest here for 5 minutes.
Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
- Relieves anxiety and stress
- Eliminates swelling in the feet, ankles, and lower legs
- Combats insomnia
How to come into Legs-Up-The-Wall:
- Sit next to the wall with your hip touching it.
- Bring your hands behind you.
- Lean back onto your hands
- Swing your legs up so your heels rest on the wall.
- Leave a few inches between your glutes and the wall to make it less intense for your hamstrings.
Stay for 5 – 10 minutes.
Restorative Yoga relieves stress and boosts resilience.
Yoga helps relieve stress every time we get onto our mats but don’t wait until those stressful feelings emerge. Regularly practicing yoga (a short session every day or a couple of longer classes every week) creates resiliency and self-confidence. People who practice often, find it easier to handle things when life gets stressful.
Yoga increases our ability to remain calm, balanced, and relaxed.
Incorporating restorative yoga into your normal routine will foster a state of relaxation and nurture a sense of well-being with lowered anxiety and more optimistic outlook on life so come back to this practice often.
If you prefer a guided practice, this sequence is an excerpt from a longer class in the On-Demand Membership. Join today for unlimited access or rent the Restorative Yoga with a Bolster class for a few days. I know you’ll love it!
Join us on your yoga journey where we conquer self-doubt, build self-confidence, create joy, and dream bigger! Your future self will thank you.