Most people know that yoga is a type of exercise that strengthens and stretches the body with the help of different poses, usually called asanas. But, the fact is that yoga represents something deeper – a way to bring balance between your body and mind and find inner peace and satisfaction. Yoga has been practiced for more than five millennia. It originates from India, but it is now practiced worldwide. Today, there are different types of yoga and restorative yoga is definitely among the most popular ones. The basic goal of restorative yoga is to let practitioners release tension that exists in the bodies with the help of poses that last longer and different props. A typical restorative yoga sequence includes simple and slow postures that can energize the body and mind.
Why Choose Restorative Yoga?
For many experts, restorative yoga is the ultimate relaxation technique. After finishing a restorative yoga class, you will definitely feel much better because this specific kind of yoga brings balance and relaxation. What is important is that this yoga is suitable for literally every category of individuals. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you are a male or a female, a thin or slightly overweight person, an active or inactive person – you can start practicing restorative yoga right away.
This practice provides some amazing benefits and if you care about your health and you want to preserve it naturally in a fun and engaging way, then you must incorporate this activity into your daily routine. Numerous studies have confirmed that this type of yoga can bring many different benefits to practitioners. For instance, it was proven that restorative yoga supports mindfulness. It also optimizes the work of the nervous system. Some initial studies have shown that it can provide deep relaxation for every body part. In addition, restorative yoga makes people feel energetic and safe and supports self-awareness.
A few things that everyone should know about restorative yoga
Before trying any restorative yoga sequence, it is the best idea to learn more about it. This kind of yoga was created to re-energize the nervous system and to bring balance and harmony in the body with the help of restful yoga poses. Instead of activating different muscle groups, the goal here is to allow muscles to become completely relaxed. By doing these exercises, you will get rid of hypertension and stabilize your heart rate. In addition, restorative yoga supports the work of the endocrine system and strengthens the immune system. The fact that it is slower makes it good for people who have been inactive for a longer period of time.
There are many physicians that advise the use of this type of yoga to their patients looking for a way to relieve pain, boost flexibility and mobility, heal injuries and more. Even though yoga can be practiced at any time the practitioner wants, as a result of the specific nature of this kind of yoga, it is recommended to practice it before bedtime. After all, this is the period of the day when all the stress that we have been exposed to during the day is accumulated and we just need to calm your body and mind before going to bed.
Practicing Restorative Yoga
As previously mentioned, the majority of restorative yoga sequences look like the ones practiced during traditional yoga classes. However, there is a big difference – almost every restorative yoga sequence is conducted with the help of props. Without any doubt, props are an excellent way to support yourself and make every pose more comfortable and easier. The use of props is natural because the poses last longer – in some cases up to 15 minutes.
Prior to the beginning of any restorative yoga pose, it is crucial to warm up your muscles. It is true that most of these poses look gentle and easy, but this doesn’t mean that you should skip the short warm-up process. In case you have been practicing yoga for a while, you can warm up the muscles by conducting vinyasa flow or sun salutation. If you are new to this, your warm-up process should include fast walking with the energetic swinging of the arms.
Examples of restorative yoga poses
In order to understand how restorative yoga works, we will now highlight a few popular poses.
This is probably the most used restorative yoga sequence today. In order to conduct it, you have to go down on the floor with your knees and hands. Keep the heels under the hips and hold a pillow or a bolster with the help the upper part of the body. Keep your face down, knees beneath your body and support the body with your arms and the pillow. Child’s Pose is an extremely relaxing pose that can help you get rid of fatigue and stress.
Create a T formation with the help of the two blocks located at the mat’s back side. In this way, you will get protection for your neck. Place the bolster down lengthwise – keep the upper portion of the two blocks. After that, sit down at the beginning of the bolster. The hips should stay grounded. Finally, put the soles of the feet together. In the end, just recline back with extended arms.
Leg against the wall
Start this simple, yet effective yoga poses by lying down on the back and keep the buttocks tight. Try to put the rear end on the wall if you want to witness the best effects. The next step is to extend your right and left leg up the wall. Remember to keep your legs straight. Simply lie and relax for a few minutes. With this pose, you will stretch the back side of your legs and you will soothe a backache. In some cases, this pose can help you with tired feet too.
An Example of a Restorative Yoga Sequence
A restorative yoga sequence includes 3 or more yoga poses. By conducting a restorative yoga sequence you will be able to address multiple health issues and improve your overall health in a shorter period of time. We will provide an example to explain how restorative yoga sequences work. The example that we are about to share is good for those looking for a way to get rid of tension and clear their mind after a long, stressful day. Remember to keep every pose for about 5-6 breaths. Deep breathing is a must.
The sequence starts with the Child’s pose which is explained above. After that, the practitioner should take the Hero pose where they will kneel on the mat with both knees bent and pressed together. The point is to expand and touch the hands in the air while sitting between the feet. The next pose is the Pigeon. In order to this pose, you should put the left shin parallel with the upper part of the mat and try to reach the right leg behind you. After that, try the same with the opposite side of the body.
The sequence continues with the Bow pose in which you should keep the outer side of the ankles and create an arch with your back so you can put some pressure on the navel. The Camel is all about reaching the back and holding the ankles (one of them at a time) and arching the back after that while opening the chest at the same time. The Butterfly is an interesting pose that is part of this sequence where you have to sit on the ground with feet pressed together and knees out to each side. After that, simply open the feet in the same way you are opening a book. The legs against the wall is the next pose which is explained above.
The sequence continues with the Fish pose in which you have to press your forearms into the floor and arch the spine at the same time. The main objective is to reach the floor with the top of the head. Finally, you should end this sequence with the Reclining Spinal Twist. In order to perform this pose, reach the legs to the left side and simply twist the spine to the right. Remember to switch sides after that.
When practicing restorative yoga, make sure that you are consistent. Consistency is key to success regardless of the type of yoga you are practicing.