Restorative yoga does what it says on the tin. It’s an amazing form of yoga that renews, restores and has multiple benefits.
Restorative yoga is different to other forms of yoga because it’s much slower and asks us to hold poses and breaths with the sole intention of reviving our bodies and minds. Through this ancient practice we can create awareness of our needs and the parts of our mental and physical bodies that need love and to be relaxed - restorative yoga allows us to slow down and exercise self-care in a deliberate way.
Props and tools for chilling out are common in restorative yoga and anchor our practice so we can relieve our body of any burdens. For example, pillows or blankets are used to soften our poses and help us stay in our relaxing postures for as long as possible. It’s very much a healing-orientated practice, whereas other forms of yoga such as yin yoga help us to transition and connect parts of our body through more strenuous poses to see that we change and evolve.
There’s nothing challenging about restorative yoga - other forms of the branch of hatha yoga, including yin yoga, may encourage us to embrace a harder stretch or pose which may require more concentration or need us to hold an unnatural position for longer than we’d typically feel comfortable doing. Contrary to this, restorative yoga is very much at the heart centre of a yoga-based self-care routine.
Our love for restorative yoga knows no bounds; we like to incorporate certain poses into our coffee breaks and in the morning before work, or take time out of our busy schedules to dedicate half an hour, in a quiet, dark and incense imbued room to practice restorative yoga postures and poses. The positive effects include reduction in hypertension, lymphatic drainage, tension relief and easing of the pressure on our bones, joints and muscles after working at a desk or an active day out. So without further ado - relax with us and try our favourite restorative yoga's poses:
1. Legs up the wall pose
Super simple - lie on the floor with your sitting bones just up against the wall. Make sure to use a blanket or block so the pose can be held for between five and ten minutes. Remember, don’t stack the hips - leave a little bit of an arch - your legs shouldn’t be 90 degrees, but instead should be at a slight diagonal.
2. Supine twist
Lie on the back and cross one leg over the other, with both arms stretched wide. Then twist away from the leg that’s crossed over and look the other way.
3. Supported bridge
Another one starting from lying down; straighten the arms so they are on the floor along side the body. Lift the hips up into the air, using the feet to press down, so the shoulders, upper back and neck remain on the floor. Place a block underneath the pelvis. Hold as long as possible.
4. Supported child’s pose
Embrace a normal child’s pose - start in tabletop position and push the hips back wide; bring the front body forward so it is lying across the knees. Stretch the arms out in front and drop the head. To support the child’s pose, add a big cushion underneath the arms, chest and head. And breathe…