Yoga is a popular and healthy way to exercise, stretch and improve overall mental and physical health. These are both great reasons to do yoga, but did you know that some types of yoga can help you rest your mind and body, as well? Welcome to the world of restorative yoga! There are numerous benefits of restorative yoga, and we want you to know all about them so you can try it for yourself.
What is Restorative Yoga?
Essentially, restorative yoga is a very relaxing form of yoga with minimal movement involved. There are various restorative yoga poses to pick from. Most of them involve simply stretching and bending, using props to support yourself. Restorative yoga incorporates slow, deep breathing, and meditation can be incorporated, as well. The goal of restorative yoga is to help the mind and body fully relax, a chance to heal from all the things you’ve experienced throughout the day. Various restorative yoga poses can be held for 10 minutes or more, so you’ll get a deep stretch as you unwind.
With the help of props, restorative yoga should require very little effort on your part. Due to how simple the poses are, just about anyone can do restorative yoga, so grab some pillows and try it!
What do You Need for Restorative Yoga?
The one thing about restorative yoga that isn’t necessarily simple is that you need to either have or improvise your own yoga props. What makes restorative yoga truly “restorative” is that there is little to no muscle use in the poses. The props should provide full support for your body so that you don’t have to do any work once you’re in your pose.
Yoga props and blocks are available all over the internet, but if you don’t want to spend money, you can always make do with things lying around your home. In some cases, using some folded blankets or a pillow could work to support one pose. You could even use something like a small stack of books if you want to get creative in other poses. So, even though it may be easier to have yoga props on hand, you don’t need to spend money if you don’t want to.
Other than these props, all you need is a ready-to-relax mindset and maybe a yoga mat if your carpet isn’t comfy enough!
Be Ready to Relax!
Restorative yoga is very meditation and relaxation-based, as opposed to some forms of yoga, which involve a lot more exertion. Many of the relaxing yoga postures used in restorative yoga classes are held for 10-20 minutes. If you want a quick and easy stretch after a workout, don’t do restorative yoga poses. You may want to consider doing restorative yoga before bed at night to get you relaxed and ready to sleep.
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Now that you know the basics let’s discuss the various potential benefits of restorative yoga!
Sometimes it can be hard to relax, even if you want to! After a long or stressful day, it can be challenging to turn off your brain and unwind, even though you feel exhausted. Restorative yoga can help you become fully calm. This is due to the deep breathing and relaxing poses that are a big part of restorative yoga. Taking deep breaths and allowing your entire body to go limp can help your mind and body relax.
Improved Sleep Quality
Taking time before you sleep to do restorative yoga could help you relax and get tired enough to fall asleep. As mentioned above, the deep breathing and calm postures of restorative yoga will propel you into relaxation. Next time you’re thinking about reaching for the melatonin, try some restorative yoga instead and see if it works!
Easy on the Body
Due to how easy and simple restorative yoga poses can be, they won’t cause any strain on your body. Yoga, in general, is known for being easy on the body. It can be a great way to exercise for the elderly or those with medical conditions that impair their ability to do intense exercise.
Improved Mental State
As previously mentioned, restorative yoga is incredibly effective at helping people relax, and this crosses over into the mind, not just the body. Giving your brain a moment to reboot is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. And no, sleeping doesn’t always count as good rest for your mind. If you’re under a lot of stress, you may get poor quality sleep, so you need to set aside time to meditate, which is why restorative yoga is perfect.
Studies show that doing yoga may help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, among other mental health issues that many people face. Exercise and meditation are both generally helpful in deterring stress. While restorative yoga isn’t particularly physically demanding, the meditation and deep relaxation would certainly help.
Safe to do During Pregnancy
One of the more unique benefits of restorative yoga is that it can be modified and practiced throughout pregnancy. Yoga is generally safe during pregnancy, and restorative yoga is no exception! A great thing about yoga is that it can be easily modified to fit your needs. In restorative yoga, since the poses are often held for a long time, one thing you can easily modify is how long you do the poses. If 20 minutes is too long to be in one position, you can hold the pose for less time. There are no hard rules when it comes to yoga.
Where do I Begin?
You may wonder where to start when it comes to trying restorative yoga for the first time. You can find a yoga studio near you if that’s your preference, but if you want to just be at home, there are many YouTube videos with restorative yoga guides.
Here’s a shortlist of some restorative yoga videos we love:
- 35 Minute Restorative Yoga + Meditation-No Props– This is a simple, no props required intro to restorative yoga.
- 10 Minute Restorative Yoga with Bolster– If you’re not sure about restorative yoga but want to give it a quick try, this 10-minute guide will help you make up your mind!
- 40 Minute Restorative Yoga with No Props- Here’s a full-length, seriously refreshing yoga guide to restorative yoga, specifically.
- 45 Minute Restorative Yoga– You will want some props for this one, so this is for those who already know they love restorative yoga and are committed to having all the props!
Refresh, Restore, Restart!
The benefits of restorative yoga far outweigh the cons, because there are no cons! Restorative yoga is an incredibly simple and easy way to relax, improve your mental health, and get some great sleep. If you want to feel refreshed and ready for anything, consider tapping into the benefits of restorative yoga.