Any yogi practitioner learning Bikram or Vinyasa knows that finding your om is a bit challenging. For in these yoga flows, one should continually move from pose to pose while the heat requirement and flexibility also increases.
Restorative yoga, on the next page, is about slowing down as you go. Under this, easy poses are held for extended periods, usually with props so the body and mind can relax peacefully and deeply.
It would be an understatement if we say that it’s like a naptime for adults, but it’s that close. Here, let’s get to know the restorative yoga, the underlying benefits, and seven restorative yoga poses for all levels to help you deal with the stress despite this pandemic outbreak.
How to know if a yoga practice is restorative?
There are multiple ways of leading your yoga practice into a restorative one. For example, we can focus on moving our blood and lymph together by inserting tension and relaxing the tissue.
Another one is that we can focus directly to relax and calm the nervous system; we can pull this off by supporting our head. When done correctly, we help restore the brain cells to neutralize the mental stress and bring back the balance to its original state.
As a sidenote, here are some tips for beginner yogis before going to a studio!
What is Restorative Yoga?
Restorative yoga or gentle yoga is another style of yoga intended to help you relax, restore, and balance the body, mind, and spirit. Restorative yoga is inspired by Hatha yoga, an ancient type of yoga from India, that works to strengthen the physical body and in preparation for meditation.
Inside a restorative yoga class, you’ll see slow-moving movements, long-held poses typically partnered with yoga props like blankets, and blocks with a peaceful and calming environment.
Poses are held from two to twenty minutes. Although restorative yoga is often thought of as yin yoga, these two has distinct practice and goal. In a yin yoga flow, the goal is to stretch the body’s deeper layers for an extended time by applying some tension on the body.
What are the Restorative yoga props?
Props can make your restorative yoga practice more comfortable and convenient. Whenever your body is supported, you are convinced to relax even deeper into the practice.
Moreover, if you can relax your body, your nervous system can relax and at the same time energized. And it’s a no-brainer that when we are energized, we can be the best version of ourselves in front of the whole world.
Below are the props that can accompany your restorative yoga lifestyle. If possible, find props made with all-natural materials, organic, or even recycled so you can make a greener decision.
1. Yoga Mat: For a therapeutic practice, a soft yoga mat is preferable. And if you want extra warmth and cushion, you can just add a blanket over the mat, and you’re good to go.
2. Blankets: Any blanket that can provide warmth, extra weight, and cushion for restorative routine is excellent. You can notice that Mexican blankets are more common than any other blanket.
3. Yoga blocks: A yoga block is typically made out of wood, foam, cork, or bamboo. If you don’t have this, awaken your DIY self and use a pile of books as blocks for your restorative yoga.
4. Bolsters: Also known as large pillows but with a slight stiffness for added support during the restorative poses. This is available in round, rectangular or custom-made support.
5. Eye pillow: An eye pillow is a short rectangular pillow generally stuffed with flaxseed or fine sand. Sometimes, there are also dried lavender flowers inside for a soothing effect.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Whether you like it or not, we spend most of our lives battling some level of stress. It may be work, school, family responsibilities, or health challenges, especially in this pandemic outbreak. Plus, we are worried about what is to come, and also the regrets of the past may haunt us anytime.
With that, the restorative flow will help us get out of this stuck unhealthy lifestyle. And it can absolutely energize yourself, build your confidence, and ultimately it can encourage you to get rid of your worries.
Below are the main restorative yoga benefits you can have:
– Better sleep
– Reinforced respiration
– Enhanced Concentration
– Lesser stress and anxiety
– Soothes the mind
– Reduced headaches
– Helps lessen bodily pains and discomforts
– Better digestion
– Increases the physical healing qualities
Seven Restorative Yoga for All Levels
Whether you’re a pro or beginner yogi, you’re going to need some props in restorative flow. You may do a lot with blankets and blocks (using them individually and together); still, nothing beats a yoga bolster.
Since you will keep these poses for a couple of minutes, it’s a good idea to grab some timer with you during the whole practice. Your phone’s clock will do but keep in mind to set it into a soft tone so it won’t shock you when the time is over.
Practicing alone will make it easier to be preoccupied with how long time has passed in restorative yoga. And because the timer monitors you, this thought will be set aside, and this can lead to a deeper meditative yet therapeutic state.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
For this beginner level pose, start on your hands and knees, then focus on your breath. Gently spread your knees apart, toes touched, and sit on your heels. Lengthen your spine to sit up conveniently.
Breathe out and bow forward, place your forehead down onto the floor gradually. And lastly, expand arms with palms facing down. This calming pose stretches your hips, thighs, ankles, and at the same time, relaxes the mind.
2. Supported Child’s Pose
This pose is a supported version of Balasana but is warmer and can offer a tremendous relieving embrace for your body. You’d need a bolster or pillow right on your mat.
Pile a folded blanket on top. If you want your ankles and knees to get warmed, you can also stack a rolled blankets on there. Your belly and chest should be on the bolster together with your forehead.
3. Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
This feel-good pose softly stretches your inner groins and spine while soothing tension and fatigue. To pull this off, rest on your back and breath out, reach your knees into your chase.
While inhaling, touch the outer part of your feet using both hands.
Open your knees gently, then bring it up around your armpits. Hold your shinbone upright to the floor and place your ankles above the knees. Start rocking side to side like a baby.
4. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Extend your inner thighs, groins, and knees while releasing the stress with this pose. Begin by reclining down on your back while your legs are extended and your arms at your side, palms facing the ceiling.
Flex your knees, so the soles of your feet are touching. Make your legs be in a comfortable position and breathe.
5. Adept’s Pose (Siddhasana)
Other than stretching your hips, knees, and ankles, this pose is good preparation for meditation. In a seated position, extend your legs and place your arms at sides. Remain your back straight. Flex your left knee, then bring in the left heel into the groin area.
After that, bend your right leg and drag your right heel facing the top of your public bone. Don’t let your mind wander and place focus on your breath.
6. Legs On A Chair Pose
Treat those tired legs and back with this relaxing pose. Begin by sitting on a chair and gently lower down while holding your knees bent. Put your legs up towards the chair as you rest onto your back.
Support your calves and hold your pointed toes toward the ceiling by while sitting on the chair.
Your torso should feel convenient with the chair. Once in place, relax your belly and release the fatigue in the muscles. For more profound relaxation, you can always aa a pillow under your neck or feet or even an eye pillow.
7. Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Find a spacious space, place a folded or rolled blanket where you will be lying along the wall. Lie down on your one side with hips touching the wall. Allow your body to reach the wall as close as possible, so your sit bones can touch the wall.
Turn over onto your back and raise your legs to the ceiling so you can lean straight against the wall. Keep in mind that the folded blanket is under your sacral bone. Keep this position for five to seven minutes.
Find your om at 889yoga
In Restorative yoga, finding your om is made efficient and fun regardless of what level you are. You can easily follow any of these seven restorative flow poses individually or as a sequence.
After a long tiring day, treat yourself to these deep feel-good poses to relax and neutralize every fatigue that is going on to your body. If unsure, seek advice from pros for a better practice or drop into a class. Namaste.