Restorative Yoga Will Revitalize and Energize Your Body
Restorative Yoga prioritizes relaxation, stillness and a calmer stage of mind. A series of restorative yoga typically includes only 5 or 6 poses, supported by props which allow you to completely rest and relax. By including props like yoga bolsters, blocks, straps or blankets to support and line up the body, these poses let the body relax in each pose. The poses mainly involve seated forward folds, light twists and gentle backbends.
Some Vital Restorative Yoga Poses
Supported Child’s Pose
Take the support of a blanket, bolster or a firm pillow lengthwise in front of you. Come down onto your knees and placing them on either side of the support and toes (feet) keep together. Bend your upper body over the length of the prop. Rest your forearms on the ground along the support and rotate one side (or rest your forehead on the prop, whichever is most relaxed).
Allow gravity to draw your legs to the earth as you can reduce the lower back and set the tailbone free to the heels. Halfway through, bend your head to the other side as the body continues to set into the posture.
Supported Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Lie down on your back with your knees folded, place your feet flat on the ground with hip-distance apart. Stretch your arms by your sides and move your shoulder blades and slightly lift up the chest. Slowly raise your hips off the floor and slide a yoga block openly under your sacrum, the huge triangular bone at the bottom of your spine.
(Note: Always come into the bridge posture before you keep the block under your sacrum – don’t try to lie directly on the block).
As you relax here, arms can be placed by your sides, extended overhead or stretched out in a T-shape. Beginners can place the block at its lowest height, then turn it for a higher lifting. To return to the pose, push down onto your feet and raise your hips. Remove the block from below and gently lower your back to the ground.
Supported Recycling Bound Angle
In this Restorative Yoga, place a pillow or folded towel/blanket to create a rectangular load about a foot high. Sit in front of this stack with your hips on the ground then place your rib cage and head back on the stack. Put the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to the sides. Clasp a stack of blanket or a pillow and wedge them under the thighs to let your legs feel relaxed there. Use as many supportive things as you need to make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes and rest here for 5 minutes.
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Supported Side-Lying Savasana
You will need some blankets, bolsters or pillows for this one, but it is completely worth the set-up included. Start by lying on either side, it feels more relaxed, with a pillow under your head. Put a bolster or pillow lengthwise in front of your torso. Turn your leg and put your knee and shin on top of the cushion. Put your hips square. Close your eyes and inhale deeply, letting yourself relax. Keep this pose for 5 minutes.
Supported Pigeon Pose
Rajakapotasana or Supported Pigeon Pose is a soother for cranky, tight hips. Start by taking support across the front of your pelvis using folded blankets, towels or bolster. Keep your right knee, shin and hip on the bolster and stretch your left leg behind you. Ensure, your pelvis is equally propped up on both sides, and then hinge the upper body forward at your hips. Added padding under your forehead or chest will aid you to soften your shoulder and neck. Inhale deeply, relaxing here for 5 minutes. Repeat this again on the opposite side.
Supported Heart Opener
Make a prop using a folded towel/blanket or bolster along the length of your spine. Allow your torso to relax on the padding. You can stretch your legs or take your feet flat on the ground and let your knees to fall together, placing feet hip-width apart. You can relax one hand on your heart and the other hand on your belly, or let your arms fall out to the sides with your palms facing up. Inhale deeply, letting yourself relax as your chest opens. Take rest here for 5 minutes.
Supported Shoulder Stretch
Lie down on your stomach and put a bolster or a rolled towel under your lower ribs. Bring your right arm over your left and stretch your arms away from each other with your palms facing up. Ensure you have a towel large enough to roll or bolster to take your weight off the shoulders so you can rest here. If it is too severe, add another towel. Rest here and stay for 1 minute. First, cross left arm over right arm, then repeat with the right arm over the left.
In this ideal world every asana would feel restorative. But those that fall into the particular category of Restorative Yoga have a special ability to leave us well nourished and rested. These poses are commonly supported by blocks, props or blankets and are kept for several minutes at a time.