If you struggle with anxiety, insomnia, or just find it hard to power down after a long day, you may consider trying restorative yoga. Unlike other types of yoga, which are much more active, restorative yoga provides total relaxation for your body and mind. By using props to rest in poses for extended periods of time, the body is able to let go of strain and the mind is free to relax.
The beauty of restorative yoga is that instead of building up heat and energy, as you would in a workout class, this practice is designed to help you find calm and release tension. It’s especially beneficial after a workout as a way for your muscles to rest and recover. And it can be worked into a pre-bedtime routine as a way to quiet the mind and prep the body for sleep. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the props you’ll need, some poses to try, and all of the benefits of a restorative yoga practice.
Besides a sticky mat, you’ll want to invest in two blocks, a strap, a blanket, and a bolster. Some people enjoy using an eye pillow as part of their practice, but this is a personal preference. Each of these props offers support to your body, helping you to rest comfortably in poses for long periods. While it’s not impossible to do restorative yoga without props, using props will aid your practice tremendously. They help to do things like prop up your back, head, and neck, for example, providing cushion and relieving strain.
Below are three examples of common restorative yoga poses that are beneficial for beginners and regular practitioners alike. Each of these poses requires props.
Supta Baddha Konasana, or supported bound angle pose, counteracts the effects associated with hunching or rounding in the upper back and is great for creating space in the abdomen and hips. It releases pressure from the low back and opens up the heart space, creating room in the chest for deep breathing, which can aid in relieving stress and anxiety.
See how to do it here.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or supported bridge pose, is also beneficial for easing back pain and opening up through the chest. This pose can help you better experience and process your emotions and achieve a profound sense of calm.
Viparita Karani, or legs up the wall pose, is fantastic for when you need to power down. Among its many benefits, Vipartita Karani promotes stress relief and has even been known to relieve headaches. This pose redirects the blood flow to encourage circulation and aids in calming the nervous system, making it an ideal pose to do before bedtime.
Have you tried restorative yoga? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!