Restorative Yoga: what it is and how to do it

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Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that has gotten more and more popular over the past few years.

But what is it, and how do you do it?

We’ll cover everything you need to know about restorative yoga today so that you no longer have to wonder!

What is Restorative Yoga?

Restorative yoga is a very calming style of yoga that can help you relax and relieve stress.

Restorative yoga is a gentle practice that is designed to help you slow down, breathe deeply, and relax your muscles.

It’s great for people who are new to yoga or who have injuries.

But not just that, restorative yoga is actually a great practice for anybody!

The important thing to note is that restorative yoga is very different from a lot of other yoga practices.

You see, a lot of yoga practices focus on building strength and mobility, while restorative yoga is all about slowing down and relieving stress.

Usually, in restorative yoga, you only do a few poses over the course of an hour, so it’s really really slow and steady.

How to do Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga can be done anywhere, but it’s always best to find a quiet and calm place to practice.

When trying to do restorative yoga, you can do a number of things.

Either, you can follow a youtube video at home of a restorative yoga class, or you write down a few poses you want to do and then do your own little flow.

Of course, there are also restorative yoga classes you can visit if you feel like being with other people while doing your practice!

The most important thing to remember about restorative yoga is that you need to relax.

There’s no need to hold your breath while doing restorative yoga.

You don’t want to force your breath. Just let it come and go naturally, and don’t hold it if it feels comfortable to exhale.

All the poses happen slowly and steadily, there is no rush to do anything and you can take as much time as you need to get from one pose to the next.

Again, the important thing to focus on here is clearing your mind and letting go of any tension you might hold in your body.

What are the benefits of Restorative Yoga?

Let’s take a look at why incorporating restorative yoga might be a great idea for you:

Increased relaxation

One of the best benefits of restorative yoga is that it can help you relax.

When you’re feeling tense, anxious, or stressed, you can use restorative yoga to calm your mind and relax your body.

You see, in such a hectic world we live in, it’s important to find space and time to breathe and relax.

The thing is, the more you practice restorative yoga, the easier it will be for you to find moments of peace in your everyday life, even when you aren’t practicing yoga!

Improved mental focus

Another benefit of restorative yoga is that it can help improve your mental focus.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help you calm your racing thoughts so that you can focus on the present moment.

Increased self-awareness

Restorative yoga can help you increase your self-awareness.

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can be hard to look inside and recognize how you’re feeling.

But when you do restorative yoga, it can help you slow down, quiet your mind, and really understand how you’re feeling inside.

You see, with awareness, you also take the first steps to improvement!

Helps you sleep better

Lastly, restorative yoga can also help you sleep better. When you practice yoga, it can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

You see, you are learning how to calm your nervous system while practicing restorative yoga, so when you do it on a regular basis, sleep will come much easier to you.

Finally, you won’t have to deal with hours of tossing and turning in bed anymore, because you will know how to fall asleep quickly.

Which Poses are in a Restorative Yoga Flow?

To be honest, there are countless different poses that can go into a restorative yoga flow, and most of them are simply based on the fact that they feel good to the body and what you need at that moment.

So, you might not even need fixed poses to do a restorative yoga flow, you can just go with your intuition and what feels right for you that day.

If you like a routine, here are a few poses that are quite popular:

Child’s pose (Balasana)

The child’s pose is a popular yoga pose and for good reason, it helps you relax your entire body and gently stretches your spine.

The best part about this pose is that you can use props to support yourself even more and make it more relaxing.

One example of that would be using pillows in front of you to rest your torso on while holding this pose.

Supported Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Bridge pose is when you lay on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Then you lift your pelvis up to the ceiling by engaging your butt and hamstrings.

In this pose, slide a pillow or yoga block under your sacrum to support yourself in that pose.

Savasana

Savasana is usually the end pose of any yoga flow and it means simply lying on the floor and spreading your arms and legs out how it is comfortable.

To support yourself even more in that pose, put a pillow underneath your knees and if desired, cover yourself with a blanket.

When should you do Restorative Yoga?

As we’ve discussed, restorative yoga is great for people who want to relax and want to reduce their stress levels.

It can also be a good choice for people who are new to yoga and don’t want to push themselves too hard.

In general, it’s a good idea to do restorative yoga if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a chronic illness.
  • You have an injury that’s keeping you from moving as much as you’d like.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You’re new to yoga and want to ease into it.
  • You have a stressful job that keeps you on your toes.
  • You just want to relax!

Essentially, anyone can do restorative yoga, and to be frank, probably everyone should practice it from time to time!

Let’s look at why that is:

Why is it so important?

In the western world, stress has become a significant problem. It’s a major cause of mental illness and physical illness.

This is why it’s so important to try and combat it with methods like restorative yoga.

When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode, where it tries to release as many stress hormones as possible so that you can survive when in danger.

This is a good thing when you’re in a dangerous situation, but it’s bad if you’re just stressed out because you have a paper due in a few days or your boss has been in a bad mood for a week.

These stress hormones release energy very quickly, and this can lead to physical illness.

They can disrupt your sleep and make you more likely to eat unhealthy foods.

They can also make you more likely to get sick by weakening your immune system.

So, if that isn’t reason enough to work on regulating your stress levels, I don’t know what is!

Should you stick to just restorative yoga?

Even though restorative yoga is great for reducing your stress and helping you feel more relaxed, it’s important to remember that some other forms of exercise can be just as beneficial.

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s best to do more than one type of exercise so that you can get the most out of your practice.

Typically, it’s best to do a restorative yoga practice one day and a more vigorous yoga style on another day.

However, you might want to experiment to see which yoga styles work best for you and your stress levels.

If you have an injury or are pregnant, or you simply enjoy restorative yoga only, then please go ahead and stick to this, only.

However, if you want to mix things up and challenge your body, there is nothing wrong with incorporating different exercises and doing restorative yoga only a few times a week.

Whatever you do, remember that yoga is a great way to combat stress and keep your body healthy!

Conclusion

Restorative yoga is a great way to relax and reduce your stress levels.

It’s a very meditative practice, and it can be a great way to unwind at the end of a long day.

If you want to reduce your stress, try adding restorative yoga to your regular yoga practice.

You’ll be surprised at how much it can help you!

That being said, it’s important to remember that restorative yoga doesn’t have to be the only yoga you do!

It can be a good idea to do a more vigorous yoga practice on one day and restorative yoga on another. You can try different styles until you find the one that works best for you!

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