Restorative yoga is a completely passive, quieting, deeply nourishing, and supportive practice of yoga using all sorts of props – bolsters, blankets, pillows, straps, yoga eggs, blocks, even chairs, and the wall. The practice requires no muscular effort at all; the purpose is to soften into the support of props. This way, the muscles can completely relax, release, and open. Your job, besides breathing, is to continually let go of holding yourself up and allow yourself to be fully supported by the props.
The poses (asanas) are done lying down passively over props and can last from 1-20 minutes. The practice also includes relaxation techniques, breath awareness and techniques (pranayama), and mediation. It could also include a gentle warm up (especially if you’re practicing in the morning), guided imagery, or even yoga nidra.
How does it benefit you?
Restorative yoga of course restores and relaxes you, not just physically but also physiologically, energetically, and emotionally. It releases deep bodily tension and that inner grip of emotional and energetic tension. Mentally, restorative yoga balances the nervous system; it quiets the mind and calms the entire being. It creates overall balance throughout the body, mind and soul. Restorative yoga helps create a healing environment in the body and has a therapeutic impact during times of illness, injury, pain, or various other stresses. It restores core energy (rasa) and helps optimal flow of all bodily systems. It also helps you create and bring relaxation into your everyday life. Restorative yoga leads to overall improved health and enhances the overall quality of life.
It get’s even better…everyone can benefit from restorative yoga! It can be used any day, any time, every day, and by any body. There are no restrictions.
Can I get a hell yeah! I was sold the first restorative class I took. Who’s with me?
My first restorative yoga class was about year after I was released from the hospital for my depression. I wasn’t used to supporting myself or allowing myself to be supported. Most of my life I was in a battle with myself – body, mind and soul. That’s how I became so depressed and in a mental hospital at the age of 20. So, to go from hating and physically harming myself to loving and supporting myself, well, it was like climbing out of a deep, dark ditch.
However, with the right tools, I was slowly able to climb about of that deep, dark ditch of depression, and with ever baby-step I took, that ditch became smaller and lighter.
I didn’t know what to expect going into the class, but I was sold when my body started immediately soaking in all the juicy good benefits I mentioned before. I had never felt so deeply and immediately relaxed, rejuvenated, and stress-free.
Restorative yoga was huge part of my healing process. It helped teach me how to support myself, starting with learning how to support my physical body, then going deeper with learning to support my emotional, mental, and energetic bodies. It helped me release this deep inner tension that I had on all of those levels. It taught me how to truly relax and restore my body – as apposed to my usually Netflix and chill – and more importantly how to incorporate relaxation into my daily life.
Restorative yoga brought out a more balanced and stress-free way of moving throughout my life.
It was a perfect balance and addition to my strong vinyasa yoga practices, intense cardio sessions, and on-the-go-life. I needed to calm the eff down and restorative yoga was my magic pill – minus that fact that I couldn’t pop it in my mouth and that it’s not a one-time fix. I had to show up for my practice; I had to show up for myself. That’s been a huge lesson I’ve learned through having a yoga practice: showing up for myself, not for anyone else, but myself.
I went deeper into my yoga practice by studying to become a teacher. Of course I dove heart-first into restorative. It was the very first public class I taught in LA. I was working at the front desk of the yoga studio where I did my training. A substitute teacher was supposed to fill in for that class, but she never showed up, so I called my teacher/co-owner of the studio to tell her what was up. She asked if I was ready to step up.
Can I get another hell yeah! I was ready to step up. I didn’t feel ‘ready’ and I didn’t know where or how I would land, but I knew I was going to jump. I’ve loved teaching restorative yoga ever since that first leap. Helping others restore is actually really restoring and rejuvenating in return as well.
My philosophy: the more support the better, in restorative yoga and in life.
If you want to go deeper into restorative yoga, check out “Restorative Yoga For Life – A Relaxing Way To De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance” by Gail Boorstein Grossman.
Sending you love and support on your journey,