Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed or you need to relax after a long day, restorative yoga is a great way to ease stress and exhaustion. I love doing this type of yoga when I am sick, when I feel a bit low, and any other time I need a slower, more relaxing type of yoga. Although yin yoga can also be incredibly relaxing, there is something about this type of yoga that makes me totally unwind. The fact that this yoga is supportive makes a big difference, allowing your body to relax fully without having to make any movements or use any muscles.
What makes restorative yoga such a good healing tool and how do you get started with this yoga? Let’s take a look.
How Restorative Yoga Helps You Heal
One of the many things I love about restorative yoga is that it requires no effort. Being able to let myself relax completely leaves me feeling like I have had a good nap. Before I share some of the benefits that this yoga type offers, there are a few things that you will want to have to make your practice as comfortable as possible.
- Bolster. I use my yoga bolster often. If you don’t have one, you can also use two firm pillows as well. The aim of a bolster is to provide support for your back or legs during certain poses.
- Yoga blocks. These are always good for every type of yoga. They add height and additional support. If you don’t have blocks, you can use books instead.
- Blanket. A rolled up or folded blanket is another essential to provide support for the neck, sitting bones, back or legs during certain parts of the practice.
- Eye pillow. This one is optional. It can be nice at the end of the practice for Savasana. You can also use a small cloth or even a folded towel.
- Extra cushions. These will always come in handy during various parts of the practice to provide additional cushioning and support.
- Stool. Not all practices use a stool but those that do may require a small chair or stool to prop up your legs.
Different practices will require different props. The aim of props is to make your practice as comfortable and supported as possible. They reduce the need for effort, making it easier for your body to relax fully.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what you may need, here are some of the ways that restorative yoga helps.
There is something about being in an extremely comfortable position for a few minutes that helps you rest completely. You do not have to be anywhere or do anything aside from relax. There are no distractions and you don’t have to put any pressure on any part of your body to move in any way. All you need to do is be in the moment and give in to feeling utterly at rest. It is perfect to restore and recharge.
At the same time, the very nature of this type of yoga makes it a nourishing practice for healing. When I am sick or stresses or anxious, I don’t want to have to put my body through any more work. I want to give my body (and mind) space to unwind and feel protected and comforted. This yoga practice does exactly that, making me feel like I am looking after myself and giving myself the care I need to relax and set aside life for an hour or so.
Finally, this yoga practice helps you let go. Giving in to the healing process and to relaxation is liberating on many levels. We spend a huge amount of time rushing around, trying to hold everything together, being strong, and carrying a lot of weight on our minds, souls, and bodies. Having space where you can let all of that go and simply be present, on your own, with no pressure or obligations or stress is essential.
Some of my favourite restorative practices include The Journey Junkie’s Restorative Yoga to Release Stuck Energy From Shoulders, Neck and Upper Back, The Yoga Ranger Studio’s Gentle Restorative Yoga for Anxiety, Stress & Panic Attacks, and Anita Goa’s RESTORATIVE YOGA: Self Care For Ultimate Relaxation. All of these cater to all levels, including beginners. You can also search on YouTube to find more videos.
Investing in yourself means taking time out for yourself. Making time for restorative yoga once a week or when you need a boost is one of the best ways to give yourself the love and care you need to heal and feel supported.