Are you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed by the demands of modern life? Do you struggle to unwind and relax, even when you have time to spare? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us find it difficult to switch off and let go of our worries, which can cause harm on our physical and mental health.
That’s where restorative yoga comes in – a gentle and relaxing form of yoga that can help you release tension, calm your mind, and soothe your soul. If you haven’t heard of restorative yoga before, this is the practice of mental, emotional, and physical relaxation that everyone in today’s world needs. This is one of the best styles of yoga, perfect for all these people that would prefer to practice for deep relaxation.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of restorative yoga for deep relaxation of mind and body, and provide you with some simple practices you can try at home to experience the benefits for yourself.
Restorative Yoga – what is it?
The restorative yoga definition is the following – restful and calm practice during which we hold yoga poses (asanas) for a longer time while using props like bolsters, blocks, and blankets. This calming practice is all about slowing down your body and mind and opening it with the help of passive stretching. It is not about the movement; it is about the deep relaxation and uniting your body and mind.
The restorative yoga meaning is to “restore” the parasympathetic nervous system function of the body to help it heal and be healthy. When we think of restorative yoga description, we can say that this practice is gentle, therapeutic, and supportive – during the classes, you may not have to move a lot since it is all about being relaxed, calm, and happy.
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Restorative yoga has something similar to Hatha yoga since both of the practices have the goal of strengthening and stretching the body. At the same time, it deepens the connection between mind and body. The intention of restorative yoga is to help you go into a state of more profound relaxation, to help you see your inner self and find your feelings.
Restorative Yoga Benefits
Regarding restorative yoga benefits – we can say a lot, and it will never be enough. This practice is excellent for the body, mind, and soul. Let us tell you more about the fantastic benefits of the practice.
First, and most important – deep relaxation. This is one of the most significant benefits of the practice. While breathing deeply, you calm down your nervous system. This results in promoted relaxation and reduced stress and anxiety levels. That’s why we believe that restorative yoga is one of the best ways to calm yourself down and help you deal with daily stress.
When practicing restorative yoga often enough, you will enhance cardiovascular and respiratory function and improve your flexibility and stability, resulting in overall better mental health and well-being.
Better sleep and better mood
Thanks to the lowering of stress levels and deep relaxation, you will fall asleep easier and sleep deeply. This will result in overall better well-being of your mind and physical body. Being calm, having a good sleep, and moving a little more will make your mood better than ever.
One of the benefits of restorative yoga is that it is gentle on the body. Since the practice is not intense and challenging, it is not bad for the joints and the overall body. This makes it an excellent option for all people of all ages.
You may ask, does restorative yoga burn calories? Well, every movement you make burns some calories. However, restorative yoga is not an active way of moving, so you will not burn many calories while practicing. You will surely tone your body and give it flexibility and strength. Still, if your goal is to burn some calories, you better go for another, more intense style of yoga.
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Mental Benefits of Yoga Benefits
Restorative yoga is not just beneficial for the body, but also for the mind. Here are some of the mental benefits you can expect from a regular restorative yoga practice:
Reduces anxiety and depression
Restorative yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by promoting relaxation and reducing the production of stress hormones.
Improves sleep quality
Restorative yoga can help to improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing the symptoms of insomnia.
Increases mindfulness and self-awareness
Restorative yoga involves focusing on the present moment, which can help to increase mindfulness and self-awareness, reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
Promotes emotional healing
Restorative yoga can help to promote emotional healing by providing a safe and nurturing environment to release negative emotions and cultivate positive ones.
By incorporating restorative yoga into your daily routine, you can experience all of these physical and mental benefits, leading to a healthier, happier you.
Props for Restorative Yoga
One of the critical features of restorative yoga is the usage of props. They are used to support you during the practice and prevent hurting the muscles while holding into one pose for a more extended period of time. The props make the practice much more comfortable, and thanks to them, you can relax deeply.
But let us explain in detail why props are used – when your body is supported, you will be able to relax more easily. That’s why we fall asleep lying in bed, not standing up. When you can fully relax, your mind will also do the same, and that’s the moment we are looking forward – the rechange and restoration of your mind, body, and soul.
Some of the props you can use for your restorative yoga practice are the following:
- Yoga Blocks – the yoga blocks are made of recycled foam or wood and are perfect for practice support. If you don’t want to spend money on that, you can use some books or a heavy box.
- Yoga Mat – of course, you need a yoga mat while practicing yoga. Make sure you have a soft and comfortable one.
- Blanket – many yogis prefer to get a blanket while practicing restorative yoga since it gives them warmth and cushion.
- Eye pillow – people love to use eye pillow since it helps them to deeply relax. You can go for an eye pillow filled with sand or lavender for even more profound relaxation.
- Bolster – the bolster is a huge pillow that can support you while practicing. There are different shapes, such as round and rectangular, so you can choose the one that fits you best.
Restorative Yoga Favourite Poses
There are many different restorative yoga poses, so you can choose these to help you calm down and feel good. You can also go for a YouTube guide to help you choose the best restorative yoga poses. Remember that you should not feel pain – all you can sense is stretching. If you feel pain, you should stop since your body tells you that you are not ready to perform a specific yoga pose.
Here are our favorite restorative yoga poses:
- Child Pose – great for relaxing the lower back and stretching the knees
- Fish Pose – good for opening the shoulders and the chest and relaxing the upper back
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose – great pose for relaxing your back and stretching the groins and hips
- Seated Forward Bend – amazing for relaxation of the mid-back and stretching of the hamstrings
- Supported Corpse Pose – good for deep relaxation and stretching of the whole body
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga can be a wonderful way to relax and recharge your body and mind, but like any form of exercise, it’s important to practice it correctly to avoid injury and get the most benefit. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when practicing restorative yoga:
Rushing into poses
Restorative yoga is all about slow, deliberate movements and gentle stretches. It’s important not to rush into poses, especially if you’re a beginner. Take your time and focus on your breath, allowing yourself to sink into each pose gradually.
Holding poses for too long
While restorative yoga poses are designed to be held for longer periods of time than in traditional yoga, it’s important not to overdo it. Holding a pose for too long can cause muscle fatigue and strain, and may even lead to injury. Listen to your body and come out of a pose if you feel uncomfortable or experience pain.
Using incorrect props
Props are an essential part of restorative yoga, helping you to get into poses comfortably and safely. However, using the wrong props or using them incorrectly can actually do more harm than good. Make sure you have the right props for each pose, and use them as directed.
Neglecting your breath
One of the key principles of restorative yoga is breathing. Your breath is what helps you to relax and release tension in your body. It’s important to focus on your breath throughout your practice, taking slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose.
Pushing yourself too hard
Restorative yoga is not a competition. It’s important to listen to your body and go at your own pace, rather than pushing yourself to achieve a certain pose or level of flexibility. Remember that restorative yoga is about relaxation and rejuvenation, not pushing yourself to the limit.
By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing restorative yoga mindfully, you can experience the many benefits of this gentle form of exercise, including reduced stress and tension, improved flexibility and mobility, and better sleep.
Partner Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is often viewed as an individual practice, but did you know that you can also practice it with a partner? Partner restorative yoga is a great way to deepen your practice and build a stronger connection with your loved ones. Whether you’re looking to enhance your romantic relationship or bond with a friend, practicing restorative yoga together can create a sense of intimacy and trust.
One of the primary benefits of partner restorative yoga is the opportunity to experience deeper stretches and postures with the help of a partner’s support. For example, a supported backbend can be enhanced by having your partner place a bolster or pillow underneath you, providing added support and relaxation. Partner restorative yoga can also increase your awareness of breath and body, as you work together to create a synchronized breathing pattern.
Here are some restorative yoga poses you can practice with a partner:
- Seated Forward Fold: Sit facing your partner with your legs extended in a V-shape. Gently fold forward, reaching for your partner’s hands and using them to deepen the stretch.
- Supported Child’s Pose: Sit on your heels with your partner sitting behind you. Slowly fold forward, resting your torso on a bolster or pillow placed on your partner’s thighs.
- Supported Pigeon Pose: Begin in a seated position with your partner sitting across from you. Bring one leg forward and place it over your partner’s outstretched leg, resting your torso on a bolster or pillow placed on their thigh. Repeat on the other side.
It’s important to communicate with your partner during partner restorative yoga to ensure you are both comfortable and safe. Be sure to discuss any physical limitations or injuries before practicing together and modify poses as needed. Partner restorative yoga is a great way to deepen your connection with your loved ones, while also experiencing the physical and mental benefits of restorative yoga.
Restorative Yoga for Specific Conditions
Restorative yoga is a highly beneficial practice that can help alleviate a range of physical and mental health conditions. Whether you suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, or other health issues, restorative yoga can provide a gentle and safe way to improve your overall well-being. In this section, we will explore the various health conditions that restorative yoga can help alleviate, along with specific poses and modifications that are most beneficial for each condition.
Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Restorative yoga can be an effective way to manage chronic pain by reducing stress and tension in the body, improving flexibility, and increasing blood flow. Some of the most effective restorative poses for chronic pain include:
- Supported Child’s Pose: This pose gently stretches the lower back, hips, and thighs, providing relief from tension and pain in these areas.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose: This pose helps increase circulation in the legs, reducing pain and swelling in the lower body.
- Supine Twist: This pose helps alleviate tension in the lower back, hips, and shoulders, reducing pain and discomfort in these areas.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are common mental health conditions that can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Restorative yoga can be an effective way to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Some of the most effective restorative poses for anxiety and depression include:
- Supported Fish Pose: This pose helps open up the chest, improving breathing and reducing anxiety symptoms.
- Legs on Chair Pose: This pose helps calm the mind and reduce stress by promoting deep relaxation.
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose: This pose helps release tension in the hips and thighs, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Restorative yoga can be an effective way to improve sleep quality by reducing stress and tension in the body, promoting relaxation, and improving breathing. Some of the most effective restorative poses for insomnia include:
- Supported Savasana: This pose promotes deep relaxation and can help calm the mind, reducing racing thoughts and anxiety.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose: This pose helps improve blood flow and reduce tension in the body, promoting relaxation and reducing insomnia symptoms.
- Supported Forward Fold: This pose helps release tension in the neck, shoulders, and back, promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality.
Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and indigestion can be uncomfortable and even painful. Restorative yoga can be an effective way to improve digestion by reducing stress and tension in the body, improving blood flow, and promoting relaxation. Some of the most effective restorative poses for digestive issues include:
- Seated Forward Fold: This pose gently massages the abdominal organs, improving digestion and reducing bloating.
- Supine Twist: This pose helps stimulate digestion and reduce constipation by massaging the abdominal organs.
- Supported Bridge Pose: This pose helps improve blood flow to the digestive organs, promoting healthy digestion and reducing digestive discomfort.
To conclude, restorative yoga can be a highly effective way to manage a range of physical and mental health conditions. By practicing specific poses and modifications, you can experience significant improvements in your overall well-being. If you suffer from any of the health conditions discussed in this section, consider incorporating restorative yoga into your daily routine to experience the many benefits it has to offer.
Integrating Restorative Yoga into Daily Life
Integrating restorative yoga into your daily routine can provide a variety of benefits, such as reducing stress, increasing flexibility and mobility, and promoting overall well-being. Here are some suggestions for incorporating restorative yoga into your daily life:
- Set aside a specific time each day for restorative yoga practice. This can be in the morning, before bed, or during a break in your workday.
- Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can practice without interruption. Make sure the temperature is comfortable and there are no distractions such as TV or phone notifications.
- Start with short sessions and gradually increase the length of your practice as you become more comfortable with the poses.
- Use props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks to support your body in the poses. This can help you relax more deeply and hold the poses for longer periods of time.
- Experiment with different restorative poses to find what works best for you. Some popular poses include legs-up-the-wall, supported child’s pose, and reclining bound angle pose.
- Use restorative yoga as a tool for self-care. Take the time to focus on your breathing and tune out distractions. This can help you recharge and feel more centered.
By incorporating restorative yoga into your daily life, you can experience the many benefits of this practice and cultivate a deeper sense of relaxation and well-being.
Practicing Restorative Yoga
If you have decided to try restorative yoga, you indeed have made one fantastic decision. You can practice alone, at home, or visit a restorative yoga class with a teacher – it is all about how you feel and what you want. Many people would prefer to start with this style of yoga at home since it is much easier to calm down and concentrate. However, others believe that the teacher’s guidance is essential for successful practice.
You can do restorative yoga at night, at noon, or even early in the morning – choose the time that fits you best. Some yogis would love to start their day with deep relaxation. In contrast, others prefer to end it with the practice and relieve all the stress they have experienced throughout the day.
If you have chosen to practice at home – make sure you have a clean and calm place where you can fully relax and get into a deep state of meditation. Make sure you feel secure and have space to perform the poses. Some people like to put on music, others prefer to listen to birds and water sounds, and third – they enjoy the quietness.
So, when it comes to restorative yoga, you must listen to your mind, body, and needs. This practice is all about deep relaxation and calming down, so choose a place to help you relax and select nice yoga music or props that will make you feel comfortable. If you believe that you need guidance – go for a restorative yoga class where you will have the chance to listen to a specialist and get into the deep state of relaxation you are aiming at. Good luck!
Is restorative yoga good for you?
Restorative Yoga is a gentle practice that will help you get into deep relaxation, relieve stress, and improve flexibility. It is suitable for everyone.
What is restorative yoga good for?
Restorative Yoga improves well-being, reduces pain, reduces stress levels, and enhances sleep quality.
What is the definition of restorative yoga?
A restful and calmful practice during which we hold yoga poses (asanas) for a more extended time while using props.
Why do we use props during yoga practice?
The props are used to help you hold poses for longer without hurting your muscles. They are used for support and comfort during practice.
What do I need to practice restorative yoga at home?
You need a calm and quiet place, props to make you comfortable, and a good YouTube video to guide you through the practice.