How My Restorative Yoga Practice Is Helping Me Heal
Subscribe to Outside+ now to get unique access to all of our content, including sequences, instructor tips, video lessons, and much more. I vividly recall the first time I tried yoga and how much I enjoyed it. It was 2010, and my friend Mimi and I made our way through the snowy streets of New York City to a local hot yoga studio, our bodies tingling with anticipation as we prepared to take our first session. I soon realized that yoga isn’t about the asanas (or the positions we bend our bodies into), but I still enjoyed the feeling of “achieving” a posture, despite my intellectual understanding.
Yoga sessions in Queens, candlelight yin classes in Brooklyn, and a class with Gabby Bernstein’s Kundalini yoga classes were among the highlights of my yoga experience.
I had no idea that I would wind up discovering a new sangha (community)—as well as the practice that my body and mind had been craving.
A number of immune system problems, including the autoimmune disease lupus, were discovered in my blood tests.
- I felt uncomfortable and out of place at a yoga studio because of my hijab (the headscarf worn by Muslim women), my suddenly larger-sized physique, and new mobility limits.
- The mat wasn’t the only area that didn’t feel warm and inviting anymore.
- I was subjected to both religious and sexual harassment throughout my time in the military.
- During conversations off-line, I was labeled a terrorist, urged to “return to my country,” and told in explicit detail how the harasser envisioned raping me and how he believed that since I was Muslim, I had no clitoris.
- (Do you believe he inquires about terrorism from any of his other patients while performing pap smears?) My body no longer felt comfortable in my presence, which was exacerbated by the numerous medical traumas I’d endured, including repeated attacks of anaphylaxis.
- Meditation has been found to have a variety of advantages, including the ability to soothe pain and reduce stress.
- But how could I continue to practice yoga when I felt as if I couldn’t accomplish anything at all?
I only needed someone to remind me of what my heart already knew: that yoga can be practiced by anybody who has a body and can breathe.
As I learned to be gentle with myself and live in my body again after two years of avoiding it, they made space for me with compassion and understanding.
During the program, Raven brought in teachers who were trained in a variety of kinds of yoga so that we could learn more about the many styles of practice.
This was the type of yoga that my exhausted body had been begging for.
I was finally able to release—or, as some teachers like to say, “melt into the mat,” as they say.
My body, which was always being pushed to its limits, needed to learn how to slow down and simply be in the present moment.
And, sure, it is possible to do yoga in a hospital bed.
Even if I’m sitting in a chair or lying on a bed, my practice helps me retain a feeling of normalcy and regularity when I’m in the hospital.
A profound change occurred for me at this point: Restorative yoga has become a discipline of showing up on my mat (or wherever I am) and doing less.
Unless we are intentionally attempting to retrain our bodies to adapt to stress, our fast-paced and strenuous culture will continue to rely heavily on the responsiveness of the sympathetic nervous system to function.
When I’m able to totally relax, I’m able to feel myself as the being that I am, rather than as the events that occur in my life or the state of my body.
Healing is an active process, but that does not imply that one must engage in it. Healing may sometimes be an active process of being—much like restorative yoga—in which the patient actively participates.
Restorative Yoga 101: How Restorative Yoga Helped These 5 People Heal
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In YJ’s newest course, Restorative Yoga 101, Jillian Pransky, director of Restorative Therapeutic Yoga teacher training for YogaWorks and author of Deep Listening, will have you rethinking rest one deep breath at a time. This four-week program offers students an in-depth look at eight essential poses that will help you elicit the relaxation response, simple prop setups that will help encourage deep mind-body release and healing, guided meditative sequences and breathing exercises, mind-body alignment lectures, and personal inquiry. Eager to learn more?Sign up now.
Interested in learning more about the life-changing and wonderfully soothing effects of restorative yoga? Students have informed me that studying restorative yoga with me has changed their lives, practices, and even relationships in ways they never imagined. Instead of taking it from me, here’s what a handful of them had to say about the subject: In the past, I’ve participated in a number of calming yoga courses; however, it wasn’t until I participated in one of Jillian’s restorative yoga teacher trainings that I realized just how transformative this practice can be.
I would like to thank Jillian for her advice and support.
With increased calm and clarity, I am better able to provide my pupils with a secure and supportive setting in which they may experience profound relaxation.
To learn from Jillian, who is a skilled trainer and teacher as well as a kind and thoughtful human being who has gently guided myself and many others down this path toward a more peaceful way of practicing and living, I strongly advise you to do so.” —Leona Tan, a yoga instructor from New York City.
- ” I believe I may have pretended to be resting in order to get the job done and appear to be in excellent shape.
- Never before had my breath felt so spacious and sustaining.
- I could feel my muscles letting go with reckless abandon.
- Keeping up with this practice has certainly provided a sense of serenity and the capacity to cope with all of the challenges that life throws at you.
- “I am the type of person who frequently finds herself running on coffee and pushing herself to more and greater limits.
- It came to me when I needed it the most, demonstrating to me that all of my efforts to tackle difficulties and complete to-do lists were not only not making my life better, but were really making me sick.
- Jillian is an amazing instructor in every aspect.
- She is not only kind and welcoming, but she is also quite professional and teaches in a way that is easy to understand and connect to.
I advocate doing restorative yoga because it introduces you to a kind of yoga and a side of yourself that you may not have before encountered.” —Sabine Harbich, a yoga instructor from Vienna “Jillian and restorative yoga taught me that sometimes little is more.” Being in that situation is one thing (and an incredible one), but what makes Jillian genuinely amazing is her voice, which helps you grasp the experience, making it all that much more meaningful and approachable for you.
- Restoration yoga has played a critical role in my growth and healing on many levels, including the physical (surgeries/wear and tear of life) as well as the emotional (traumatic events and wear and tear of life).
- Like a result of practicing restorative yoga, my body has learnt how to relax at the cellular level, which has allowed me to pause and observe the open space around me, rather than reacting instinctively as I used to when I return to the workplace.
- Jillian is nothing short of a wizard when it comes to the practice of restorative yoga.
- As a supplement to my power vinyasa practice, I began to incorporate restorative yoga into my routine.
- When I was working with her, it was the first time I felt entirely supported in a restorative position, allowing me to truly relax and release.
In addition, students of all levels benefit from restorative yoga because “grinding away at job and in life puts you on the fast route to burnout.” Restorative yoga “teaches you to halt and go quiet so that you may more truly connect with yourself.” In El Dorado Hills, California, Patricia Neal works as a yoga instructor.
Ready to learn more?Sign up for Restorative Yoga 101: Journey Into Stillness With the Tools and Practice to Heal, Restore, and Rejuvenate.
Meghan Johnston explains how restorative yoga teaches us the skill of relaxing while also supporting our nervous system and reducing our overall stress levels. Because I am an anxious person who has struggled with mental health issues of my own, taking the time to calm down and be silent has sometimes felt like an impossible task. For the majority of my life, I was addicted to the feeling of being busy. My yoga practice has even served as a means of keeping active and moving in order to escape the deeper meeting with oneself that might occur when one is alone and quiet.
The yin yoga practice helped me get comfortable with the pain that sometimes accompany stillness, but the restorative yoga practice allowed me to feel completely supported while I was in that stillness.
I’ve discovered a great deal of healing on all levels, including the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, in that depth of rest.
What is Restorative Yoga?
The emphasis of a restorative yoga practice is not on stretching or strengthening, but rather on releasing. Through long-held positions that are meant to support and comfort the body, we are able to relieve tension in the muscles and gently stimulate the organs. A number of props, such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, sandbags, and eye pillows, can be utilized to provide comfort to the patient. While practicing restorative yoga, we may re-learn the technique of relaxation while also developing the skills and talents to self-soothe.
Restorative YogaYour Nervous System
Restorative yoga has been shown to be quite beneficial for our nervous system and overall stress levels. It allows us to enhance our connection with the Parasympathetic Nervous System via the practice of yoga. Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) is a branch of our Autonomic Nervous System, which is the system that regulates our body’s involuntary activities such as our heart rate and breathing. When we are stressed, or when we are in a state of “fight or flight,” we are in an increased Sympathetic state, which is the sympathetic nervous system.
Having access to both of these states is critical for our survival.
When stress becomes chronic, however, our bodies begin to suffer imbalance, which may lead to a variety of health problems such as poor digestion, hormone abnormalities, reproductive difficulties, and sleep disruptions, among other things.
The practice of restorative yoga can aid in the reduction of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), the improvement of the function of our immune system, the reduction of muscular tension, the reduction of sleep disturbances (insomnia), and an array of other beneficial effects.
Tips for a Restorative Yoga Practice
Having a sense of safety and support is critical to our capacity to rest fully and completely. Here are a few pointers for getting your practice up and running: 1) Find a place where you can be alone. You may be startled by loud or unexpected noises, which might cause you to come out of your relaxed state and into a sympathetic condition. 2) Dress in layers or use blankets to keep warm. As you begin to relax more deeply, your body will begin to cool down. It is fairly typical to require more clothes or blankets as your practice progresses.
- Darkness may have a calming impact on the mind.
- Having a little more weight might make us feel a little more secure.
- If you want to be extra safe, you can lay a heavy folded blanket in any of these spots.
- It takes around 10-15 minutes to elicit the relaxation response in most people.
Poses to Try at Home
Legs Crossed Over a Chair The fact that it does not require any specialist yoga equipment makes it accessible to everybody makes it one of my favorite positions to suggest to students and clients for at-home practice. All you’ll need is a chair and a couple blankets for this activity. In addition to relaxing your low back and alleviating tension in your legs after standing or sitting for extended periods of time, this position has several other benefits. The sacroiliac joint and the hips are also relieved of stress as a result.
- You might also want to bring a blanket to put under your knees and calves.
- It may be helpful to place a blanket under the head and put the chin slightly lower than the forehead in order to calm the mind.
- Relax your body and mind to create a sensation of calm and serenity as you concentrate.
- This position is a favorite among students!
- The high angle of this position aids in the transition of the body into a more deeply parasympathetic state of consciousness.
- To get started, you’ll need to do the following: Placing a brick below a bolster at a medium height can help to elevate it.
- Using bolsters or blankets, provide additional support beneath the knees and ankles to alleviate pain.
Focus: As you allow your body to relax into the supports underneath you, instill a sensation of weight into your muscles and bones by breathing deeply.
Remain focused on the purpose of feeling supported in silence even when the mind goes off course.
With more ease and grace, I am becoming more intimately acquainted with the workings of my nervous system as I shift from levels of stress to stages of recuperation.
The practice of restorative yoga has become an indispensible aspect of my personal self-care regimen.
On very hectic days, you’ll find me in between courses sinking into a restorative position to ensure that I have the energy to put my best self forward for the benefit of my pupils.
Stillness, I feel, is one of the most transformative, yet underappreciated, techniques we can use to cure ourselves. Consider incorporating a restorative position into your daily routine and learning about the advantages of deep rest!
Restorative yoga for rest and healing — UBWell4life
We’ve been hearing a lot recently about how we, our country, and the rest of the world need to heal. It is absolutely correct, and it is more important than ever. The pandemic produced an urgent need for mending our physical bodies, as well as our minds and spirits, as a result of the disease. Healing, on the other hand, is a process rather than an event. We must take time to relax in order to heal. When we are well rested, we have the energy to heal, continue on, and make a contribution to the healing of the entire planet.
- When I attempted restorative yoga for the first time, I believed I had wasted my time.
- Restorative yoga didn’t seem to meet my objectives at the time.
- Her favorite class was the restorative class.
- The lecture was just seventy-five minutes long, but it felt like it went on for the whole night (similar to occasions when I couldn’t sleep at night and waited for the clock to strike six to see if it was morning).
- The instructor spoke on the importance of finding comfort, relaxing, and being present.
- When the session was eventually completed and my companion and I exited the studio, she inquired as to my opinion of the experience.
- I took a peek at my friend’s face, and it was radiant!
“She didn’t squander any of her time.”, I thought to myself.
I had just given birth to my first kid, and I was exhausted, confused, and befuddled by the new world of parenthood.
After yet another restless night, I attempted to take a nap on the couch with the baby monitor next to my head, but it didn’t work out.
It was at that point that I thought of an old acquaintance who had introduced me to restorative yoga and how she had looked after the session we had taken together.
It was Child’s stance, to be sure.
I couldn’t recall the rest of the stances, but they were all comforting in their own way.
My face was glowing when I glanced in the mirror after class.
Since then, I have been teaching restorative yoga for more than a decade and practicing for even longer periods of time. One of the numerous benefits I’ve learned from this exercise is the radiant appearance, which is only one of them. Here are some of the benefits of restorative yoga:
- Reduces stress and tension in the neurological system while also balancing the autonomic nervous system response. Many of us maintain a constant state of alertness (sympathetic response). Yoga positions mixed with deep abdominal breathing can assist to regulate our nervous system and “teach” us how to move from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest” (from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode)
- It can also be used as a relaxing break during the day. During the course of a hectic day, we may find ourselves too “wired” to slumber or relax. We can rest and revitalize our muscles with just a few minutes in a restorative posture, allowing us to be active and productive for the rest of the day. It also creates an excellent environment for deep relaxation, allowing us to sleep better at night. In restorative practice, we make use of time, gravity, and deep breathing to restore balance. While getting comfortable in different positions, we concentrate on the feelings in our physical bodies while keeping our brains quiet and utilizing various props to support our bodies. This improves the quality of our sleep. Restorative postures are intended to assist you in slowing down and winding down. This medication provides us with all we require in order to fall asleep quickly and comfortably and enter all stages of sleep, including deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stages. At this stage of sleep, our brains become active dreaming and processing the events of the previous day, as well as being more aware of and connected to our emotions. Deep sleep is the period of sleep during which our physical bodies restore and revitalize. Regular practice can aid in obtaining a comfortable night’s sleep, a high level of energy upon waking, and improved attention throughout the day
- It also helps to rejuvenate tissues after engaging in strenuous activities. Our bodies require relaxation, particularly after a strenuous workout, competition, marathon, or other physical training session of any kind. Restorative yoga is a type of contemplative relaxation that incorporates breathing exercises. It provides a chance for our muscles to disengage in order to allow them to revitalize themselves. The postures can also reach the connective tissues (fascia, joints, tendons) and passively stretch them, making them stronger (so that they endure longer). Restorative poses can help to speed the recovery from acute diseases. During acute illnesses such as the common cold, the flu, or Covid-19, it is generally recommended that you rest and avoid physical activity as much as possible. Due to the fact that restorative yoga is extremely soothing when performed in nature, it may often be used to ease the symptoms. An opportunity to activate the body’s natural healing properties after a heart attack, stroke, surgery, or injury is created by a restorative practice. It can also help with the management of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and migraine headaches. Restorative yoga is mild enough that it will not damage anyone. It can aid in the alleviation of symptoms and the enhancement of one’s sense of well-being
- It also has the ability to slow down the aging process. We require more care and attention as we grow older, since our bodies demand more care and attention. Restorative yoga is a wonderful complement to daily activities and may also be used as a substitute on more hard days to help you relax. Older folks may have more time to devote to their own well-being. As a result, it may be simpler for individuals to relax in the poses and to create a revitalizing, restorative, and healing environment for their physical bodies and emotional health
- This can help to reduce stress levels. When practicing yoga, it is important to be in the present moment. Restorative yoga helps us to be present for a period of time long enough to notice and examine our thoughts, feelings, and emotions without attaching ourselves to them. It provides us with an opportunity to let down our guard and be who we are in that time, feeling secure, loved, and supported
- And It is beneficial in the treatment of dyspepsia. Our nervous system slows down or even shuts down digestion when we are in a sympathetic state (fight or flight). This allows our bodies to deploy their resources to deal with the threat while our digestive systems are idle (real or perceived). Deep diaphragmatic breathing, which calms the mind, relaxes the muscles, and stimulates the digestive organs, can aid in the digestion of food and the treatment of digestive diseases such as IBS, IBD, GERD, chronic constipation, and intestinal permeability
- It can also aid in the loss of weight. Because it is a passive practice, restorative yoga has no effect on the heart rate or calorie expenditure in the same way that aerobic exercise does. However, it has been shown to lower stress hormone levels (cortisol) and inflammation, both of which aid in fat loss, particularly around the belly and thighs. When practiced in a peaceful and welcoming setting, restorative yoga can assist those who battle with obesity to begin a more strenuous fitness regimen.
What is restorative yoga and how does it vary from other types of yoga? What are the benefits of restorative yoga? In a nutshell, this technique emphasizes being rather than doing. It’s about giving ourselves permission to do nothing. In order to enable our intelligent bodies to access their wisdom and take care of us, we must practice getting out of their way. The majority of restorative postures are performed in a reclined or sitting position. Five to ten minutes is spent in each posture, and we use various props to support our bodies and create a setting conducive to maximum relaxation.
- To aid with deep relaxation, we employ time and gravity in conjunction with other techniques to generate a sense of surrender and let go of bodily and mental resistance.
- To be able to observe, feel, and appreciate the benefits of this practice, we must, on occasion, be in the right location and at the appropriate moment in our life.
- My own experience, as well as my many years of teaching this kind of yoga, has taught me that relaxing the nervous system, quieting the racing mind, and remaining in the present moment are frequently far more difficult tasks than engaging in intensive physical activity.
- Some persons who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental or emotional health problems may have difficulty calming their minds and relaxing their bodies during their meditation sessions.
- When practicing yoga with props, those who have physical difficulties with the spine, pelvis, hips, or neck injuries should be careful of how they support their bodies with the props, how long they remain in the poses, and how their breathing patterns are affected.
- They responded positively.
- It is a chance for me to let go of all the stress that has built up in my body and to experience complete relaxation.
is a professional writer and editor “The first time I went to a restorative session, I was skeptical about whether or not I had truly accomplished anything.
The night after class, I get a great night’s sleep.
It’s a fascinating concept!” Annie C.
I was able to sleep until 5:45 a.m.
is a woman who lives in the United States “The practice of restorative yoga allows your body and mind to simply be for an hour of quiet reflection.
is a writer and editor based in New York City.
Even if we only spend a few minutes in one or two restorative yoga postures, we might feel renewed and energized.
There is no requirement for a certain location or prior yoga practice.
This position brings every yoga session to a close for the same reason we conclude every day by retiring to bed: to relieve stress.
Various props are used to support our bodies, and we can usually find what we need at home: pillows, blankets, bolsters, cushions (or thick books), rolls of paper towels, walls, and chairs are examples of what we can find at home.
Even though every body is unique, it doesn’t take long to figure out what each particular body need to feel comfortable.
It is a focused, meditative technique in which we accept ourselves exactly as we are in the present moment.
Resources: Please keep in mind that the material contained in this blog is solely for educational purposes.
Regarding a medical condition, and before making any dietary or supplement changes, exercising, or engaging in other health-promoting activities, always visit your physician.
Writer and published author of Finding Your Yoga: Essential Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga and Ayurveda (Finding Your Yoga is available on Amazon). To find out more about Ubwell4Life, including blogs and yoga videos, go to www.ubwell4life.com.
Why Restorative yoga?
What is restorative yoga and how does it vary from other types of yoga? What is the purpose of restorative yoga? In a nutshell, being rather than doing is the focus of this exercise. It’s about allowing ourselves to be passive and allow others to be passive. In order to enable our intelligent bodies to access their wisdom and take care of us, we must practice getting out of the way. A reclining or sitting position is used in the majority of restorative positions. We hold the positions for five to ten minutes at a time, using props to support our bodies and creating a setting conducive to maximum relaxation.
- In order to achieve profound relaxation, we employ time and gravity to help us cultivate a sense of surrender and let go of bodily and mental resistance.
- Sometimes, though, we must be in the right location and at the appropriate moment in our life in order to be able to recognize, feel, and appreciate this practice.
- My own experience, as well as my many years of teaching this kind of yoga, has taught me that relaxing the nervous system, quieting the racing thoughts, and remaining in the present moment are frequently far more difficult than engaging in hard physical activity.
- Some persons who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental or emotional health problems may have difficulty calming their minds and relaxing their bodies during their meditation practice.
- Yoga positions should be avoided by those who have physical difficulties with their spine, pelvis, hips, or neck.
- It was suggested to me that my students who frequently practice restorative yoga express their thoughts on the practice.
- A chance to let go of all the tension that has built up in my body and to experience complete relaxation.
is a registered nurse “The first time I went to a restorative class, I was skeptical about whether or not I had accomplished anything.
The night after class, I have a great night’s sleep.
Quite intriguing, in fact.” Annie C.
I slept until 5:45 a.m.
It’s a new high-water mark.” Sheila C.
To give yourself and those you care about this practice is a wonderful gift.” Kathy M.
When you take a restorative yoga class, it feels like you’re spending the day at the spa.
It is possible to perform these poses anywhere: in the office, in the bedroom, in nature, or any other location where it is quiet, warm, and comfortable, for example.
Corpse Pose is the most fundamental restorative yoga pose, and it is included in every yoga class (Shavasana).
In order to begin a new journey with restorative yoga and gradually add more postures to one’s personal practice repertoire, Shavasana is a wonderful starting position.
Dimmer lights, essential oils, and soft music can all be used to create a soothing atmosphere.
We give ourselves the gift of restorative yoga when we are ready to feel our bodies, hear our minds, and feel our feelings.
When we learn to be aware of ourselves, to love ourselves, and to be compassionate toward ourselves, we can begin to heal in a healthy way.
In no way should this information be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical opinions, diagnoses, or treatment.
The author’s biographical information is as follows: In addition to being a Registered Yoga Teacher, Urszula Bunting is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, a Lifestyle Medicine Coach, and a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACCLM).
In addition to being a writer, she is the author of Finding Your Yoga: Essential Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga and Ayurveda, which was published in 2012. To find out more about Ubwell4Life, including blogs and yoga videos, go to www.ubwell4life.com/about-us.
Benefits of Restorative yoga
We don’t have to contract our muscles when doing Restorative yoga, which is one of its many benefits. We frequently feel that in order to enhance our flexibility, we must ‘work’ at it, but in reality, softening and relaxing are more effective than forcing our way through a vigorous, active asana practice. The approach is the most significant distinction. When practicing Restorative yoga, we still stretch, but we’re urged to relax fully in the stretch, aided by props, so that we may release tension and focus on the breath as we do so.
The fact that our bodies and thoughts grow softer implies that we can make the space necessary to reconnect with our innate traits of compassion and understanding, both toward others and toward ourselves.
Restorative yoga benefits
- Deeply relaxes the body
- Calms a frantic mind
- Relieves muscle tension, promoting mobility and flexibility
- Increases the body’s ability to recover and maintain balance
- And It helps to maintain the balance of the neurological system. Increases the effectiveness of the immunological system
- The development of compassion and understanding toward others as well as toward oneself
Experience the benefits yourself in our 5-part program with Johanna.
Do you recall the sensation of being completely relaxed, with your body feeling soft, warm, and supple? Do you remember a time when you were so at ease in your own skin that you didn’t even notice your physical body? Then there’s the laid-back sense of standing back and watching things unfold with a huge smile on your face, knowing without a doubt that everything is OK just the way it is? In this condition, you are aware that life is just as it should be; that there is nothing to accept or reject about the situation.
must be aware of the fact that you are not separate from life, any more than the air in a balloon is distinct from the air surrounding it, or a wave distinct from the sea.
To look through the illusion of one’s own existence as a distinct creature.
Restorative yoga is a beautiful means for me to reach deep relaxation; it is a wonderful way of realizing that sometimes doing nothing (remaining in the present moment) may be one of the most powerful, supportive, and therapeutic practices of all.
Restorative yoga classes for you to try out(for EkhartYoga members)
- Sustenance with Katy Appleton
- Yin and Restorative Reset with Paula Hines
Are you new to EkhartYoga? Take advantage of our two-week free trial and peruse all of our Restorative yoga sessions. All of the wonderful advantages of a regular Restorative yoga practice are sent your way! Love, Esther
Esther Ekhart is a woman who lives in the United States. When Esther Ekhart, the face and creator of EkhartYoga, teaches, she draws on years of personal yoga and meditation practice, as well as therapeutic training and study of yoga philosophy, to create a dynamic and effective class. Follow
Restorative Yoga Poses: Benefits and Poses for Relaxation
Restorative yoga is a type of yoga that promotes physical, mental, and emotional relaxation via postures and breathing techniques. Restorative yoga is a slow-paced kind of yoga that is appropriate for all levels of practitioners. It emphasizes extended holds, quiet, and deep breathing. If you compare restorative yoga to more dynamic yoga types such as vinyasa or Bikram, you may anticipate to hold a posture for 5 minutes or longer, and only execute about 5 poses in a single restorative yoga session.
- Restorative yoga may be described as gentle, helpful, and healing, to name a few characteristics.
- Known for its capacity to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, this yoga technique is practiced by people all over the world.
- As the name implies, this kind of yoga “restores” the body to its parasympathetic nervous system function, which, in turn, aids in the body’s ability to relax, recover, and rebalance itself.
- This reaction can aid in the slowing of breathing, the reduction of blood pressure, the production of a sense of calm, and the enhancement of well-being.
- The props allow you to maintain passive positions for a longer period of time without straining or exhausting your muscles.
- Restorative yoga also allows you to release tension in your muscles for extended periods of time without experiencing any discomfort since you are urged to relax fully in the posture while concentrating on your breath.
- In addition, you can perform any restorative yoga postures without the use of any supports if you so want.
- Longer holds of a position are permissible as long as they are comfortable for the individual holding the pose.
- If you spend a significant amount of time sitting during the day, this is an ideal choice for you.
It is possible to make this posture more comfortable by placing a bolster or two folded blankets or towels under your shoulders and around your head. To do this position, do the following:
- In the center of your mat, place a bolster or two folded blankets that are parallel to one other and have a tiny space between them. Begin in a sitting position with the blankets draped across your shoulders
- Lie down and place your shoulder blades on the blanket that is nearest to you to relieve pressure. Place the second blanket over your shoulders. Keep your legs folded or stretch them in front of you
- It’s all up to you. Your arms might be resting at your sides or extended above your head with the palms facing upward. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax your muscles and release tension in your body. You will feel as though your entire body is sinking into the covers and the ground. Maintain this position for at least ten minutes. Pay close attention to your breathing and releasing the tension in your muscles
Relaxation and gentle stretching of the spine, hips, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulder muscles are the benefits of this posture for stress and fatigue relief. As long as your head and torso are properly supported, it has the potential to alleviate back and neck pain. To do this position, do the following:
- Kneel on the ground with your knees hip-width apart, your big toes touching, and your buttocks resting on your heels
- To provide support between your thighs and calves, you might insert a pillow or folded blanket between them. Take a deep breath and bend forward so that your torso is between your thighs. the act of drawing your chin closer to the floor
- Take two steps forward and place your palms on the floor in front of you, over your head. It’s okay if this is too tough for you
- You may just place both arms beside your body with your palms facing up. In order to provide additional support, place a pillow or folded blankets beneath your head and arms. Continue to hold this position for up to 5 minutes, taking deep breaths in and out. Lifting your torso up into a sitting position will provide relief.
Consider attempting the corpse posture, also known as assavasana, for a deep sense of relaxation and stress alleviation. To do this position, do the following:
- Folded blankets should be placed at the top of your mat, and either a bolster or two folded blankets layered on top of each other should be placed at the end of your mat. Take a seat in the middle of the folded blankets, with your knees bowed and your back straight. Lie down on your back with your legs extended so that the back of your knees rest on the bolster or folded blanket. As you slowly recline, make sure that the back of your head rests on the blanket. Place your arms at your sides in a natural stance with the palms of your hands facing up. The space between your arms and your torso will be noticeable
- Maintain this position for at least ten minutes. Pay close attention to your breathing and releasing the tension in your muscles
The legs-up-the-wall position helps to alleviate fatigued legs and feet while also gently stretching your hamstrings and back of the neck. It may also be beneficial for moderate back pain. To do this position, do the following:
- Place the narrow end of your yoga mat against a wall and close your eyes. In the center of the mat, place a folded blanket to keep it warm. The blanket will serve as a pillow for your head. If you want, you can use a folded blanket or a pillow to support your neck while sleeping. Place your right side against the wall and then lean back while swinging your legs up against the wall. Take a look at the distance between your buttocks and the side of the wall. Make an effort to bring your buttocks as near to the wall as you are comfortable with. Alternatively, you can arrange one or two folded blankets on the mat about 5 to 6 inches from the wall so that your lower back rests on top of them for additional support. Bring your arms out to the sides, or allow them to rest on your torso, depending on your preference. Allow your body to relax as you take a deep breath in and out, allowing your hips, lower back, and neck to sink into the floor. For a total of ten minutes, remain in this posture. Pay close attention to your breathing and releasing the tension in your muscles
Restore your body’s natural balance with restorative yoga, a passive, meditative style of yoga that allows you to concentrate on your breath while releasing tension in your body. To practice restorative yoga, you must hold asanas or positions for an extended period of time, often 5 minutes or more. This is in contrast to other types of yoga. Props such as folded blankets, blocks, and bolsters are frequently used in restorative yoga. These props assist you in supporting your body and allowing you to deepen the position while also relaxing your entire body.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of restorative yoga, you should consult with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning to practice this sort of exercise.
How Restorative Yoga Can Improve Your Relaxation
Restorative yoga is a relaxing practice that emphasizes the importance of slowing down and expanding your body via passive stretching and movement. If you attend a restorative yoga session, you may find yourself completing only a few postures over the course of an hour, with little movement. Restorative yoga is a radically different experience from the majority of other types of yoga practiced worldwide. Learn what restorative yoga is and why it’s crucial to slow down and embrace the benefits of rest in this informative video.
What Is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga is appropriate for practitioners of all skill levels and abilities. Restorative yoga is defined as a relaxing practice in which yoga poses (asanas) are held for a longer period of time with the use of props such as yoga blocks, blankets, and bolsters. A profound relaxation technique that stresses the meditative part of yoga—the union of body and mind—it is known as shirodhara. Many of the postures are held relatively effortlessly thanks to the use of props for additional support during practice.
Restorative yoga requires no effort on your side other than paying attention to your breath and becoming aware of any feelings or ideas that may occur throughout the practice.
You could go fast from one position to another during a typicalvinyasaclass, for example, in order to enhance your heat while also increasing your strength and flexibility over time.
Restorative postures will also provide a moderate stretch as part of the experience.
Generally speaking, restorative courses are calm and low-energy, making them a wonderful complement to more vigorous practices (as well as our hectic lives) and a good cure to stress and anxiety. Stillness is a very effective technique.
In recent years, yoga has gained popularity as a physical activity that may help people improve their strength, stability, and flexibility, as well as their respiratory and cardiovascular function, as well as their symptoms of chronic pain. Yoga has also been shown to have positive effects on mental health, including stress reduction, anxiety reduction, and depression reduction, as well as better sleep hygiene and general quality of life. These and other advantages of restorative yoga are comparable to those of other forms of yoga, and include the following:
- Increased relaxation: Deep breathing helps to soothe the nervous system, which in turn helps to induce relaxation. Research has shown that a restorative yoga practice is an excellent method of relaxing. The findings of a 2014 study imply that relaxation-inducing practices such as restorative yoga are more helpful than routine passive stretching. Improved sleep: The more relaxed you are, the more likely it is that you will get a good night’s rest the following night. According to a meta-analysis published in 2020, 19 separate research were examined to determine how different forms of yoga, including restorative yoga, might affect sleep quality. Yoga, according to the findings of the study, is an effective strategy for addressing sleep issues since it increases melatonin levels while decreasing hyperarousal. Enhanced physical and mental well-being: Yoga activities, in general, are frequently related with improved physical and mental well-being in the general public. Improved mood: According to research, yoga can assist persons suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders in managing their symptoms. Studies have shown that many forms of yoga, particularly restorative yoga, are effective therapies for the management of musculoskeletal pain. Restorative yoga techniques are mild on the joints, and regular practice can help to strengthen the connective tissues that surround the bones and joints
- They are also beneficial for those with arthritis.
Additionally, clinical research into restorative yoga has discovered that the practice might be a beneficial resource for persons suffering from cancer, with increases in psychological well-being being observed. Restorative yoga has been shown to reduce sadness in cancer survivors, relieve symptoms of anxiety, despair, and pain in cancer patients, and assist patients in managing the toxicity of cancer therapies, according to research. Restorative yoga, like other kinds of yoga, provides a variety of physical and mental health advantages, with the added benefit of fostering deep rest and relaxation, which can in turn enhance general well-being and well-being.
The Use of Props
Props are utilized extensively in restorative yoga to support your body and allow you to maintain poses for longer periods of time. Blocks, bolsters, and blankets are commonly used to alleviate strain in supine or sitting yoga positions. For example, by laying a bolster or many folded blankets on top of your legs during a sitting forward bend (paschimottanasana), you may make the pose more restorative. Allowing your entire torso to rest on your props fully supports your forward bend to its fullest extent.
With the help of a rolled-up blanket, the soles of the feet can be gently bound together.
There are several restorative variants on popular yoga postures, as well as countless opportunities for utilizing props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps, and sandbags in a variety of different ways. In this section, we will go over some of the most important restorative yoga postures, which are essential to the practice of profound rest. If you’re just starting started with restorative yoga, set a timer for 5–10 minutes for each posture so that you may concentrate only on relaxation and deep breathing during each session.
Child’s Pose (Balasana) With Support
When doing this classic shape, it is helpful to put two blankets lengthwise between the inner thighs to raise and support the chest while elevating and supporting the legs. Begin by sitting back toward your heels, widening your knees, and bringing your big toes together from a tabletop position. As you lay your torso on top of the blankets, soften your elbows and place your forearms on the floor to support your forearms.
About halfway through the pose, turn your head to one side, then to the other side again to complete the pose. Optional: Place an additional blanket, rolled up halfway underneath the tops of your feet to provide support for your ankles while you rest your feet.
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor approximately hip-distance apart, your arms by your sides, and your arms by your sides. Lifting your pelvis a few inches requires you to press into your feet and engage your hamstrings. Maintaining proper support for your tailbone can be accomplished by sliding a yoga block or stack of books beneath your sacrum (lower back area). To get out, elevate your hips and lift the block away from your body, then carefully lower yourself back down.
Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) With Support
Slowly drop your knees to one side while lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. In between your inner thighs and knees, place two piled yoga blankets or a bolster lengthwise between your thighs and knees. Alternatively, your arms can be placed wide or alongside you, or in any other position that permits your shoulder blades to stay firmly planted on the floor. It is possible to use an additional blanket for support by partially rolling it and placing it beneath the back of your neck (cervical spine).
Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Bring the short edge of your mat up against a wall and arrange a bolster or approximately three folded blankets few inches away from the wall, positioned horizontally, several inches from the wall. On your mat, at the top edge of the bolster, place an additional folded blanket lengthwise on your mat. Bring your buttocks up near to the wall as you rest your lower back on the backrest and stretch your legs upward as you enter the form. As you lie down, adjust the additional blanket to provide support for your spine.
Optional: Place a sandbag on the soles of your feet to cushion your landing.
Supported Corpse Pose (Savasana)
By placing a bolster or rolled-up blanket behind the backs of the knees, you can provide additional support to this traditional resting position. Cover your body with an extra blanket, and drape an eye cushion or eye mask over your eyes to keep them from becoming tired.
What to Expect in Class
When you attend a restorative class, whether online or in person, prepare yourself for a state of complete relaxation. Expect the teacher to inform you of the props that will be required for the lesson. If you’re in a yoga studio, the teacher will most likely play gentle ambient music and lower the lights to set the mood. Even if it’s cold outside, you should keep your socks and sweater on since you will not be warming up your body in the same way that you would in a more strenuous yoga session.
Following the completion of your setup with all of your props, you will hold the posture for a considerable amount of time, possibly as long as 10 or 20 minutes.
It’s possible that you’ll fall asleep.
Throughout the exercise, you will maintain your concentration on your breathing.
Over the duration of an entire class, you are only permitted to do four or five positions.
Although you may need to put together a few props, many of the positions can be achieved with just a few blankets or pillows.
You will leave the session with a feeling of opening and renewal in your body. There’s a good chance you’ll be a little sore the next day from the profound opening and release that the postures enable.
A Word From Verywell
Restorative yoga may be a wonderful method to ease tension while also taking pleasure in deep, contemplative stretches. Preferably, take a studio class or enroll in an online class in the comfort of your own home before attempting to learn to dance on your own. Allow yourself to be patient and to take pleasure in the calm of your body and thoughts. It will take some getting used to, but after a while, it will become second nature, and you may be surprised by the advantages.