Restorative Yoga allows our Body, Mind, and Soul to unwind and creates internal peace and awareness. It is a slow practice that nourishes the body and allows it to deeply relax in postures that are often held around 5 minutes or more. Daily stress on the body can build and it is so helpful to have some calming yoga postures available to allow the body to step back out of the fight or flight mode and step into inner calm and a refreshed state. If you sit behind a desk or car all day then it is essential to stretch and release tightness in the body. With a restorative practice you can lower your blood pressure, calm your heart rate and nervous system, and bring balance to the body.
Whether you are an experienced yogi or are a beginner these 7 Restorative Yoga Poses will ease tension, melt stress, and balance your energy to leave you feeling open and at peace.
Setting the Space
I recommend finding a clean, bright, and open space in your home to practice in. It helps to use the same space on a regular basis as it will give a consistency to your practice and a great energy to the space. Playing soft and gentle music really helps me to sink into my restorative practice and helps me drift throughout the poses without too many distracting thoughts from the mind. (i.e. Have I held the pose long enough? What do I need to get at the grocery store tomorrow? Should I have gone to the gym instead? What am I going to cook for dinner tomorrow? What am I going to wear to work? Oh! Do I need to wash those black pants? Oh, this is too much – I can’t lay still!) I would suggest listening to Sacred Earth for music that helps create inner peace. Light a candle if you wish and set up your yoga mat and yoga props. Don’t worry if you don’t have some of the yoga props you can always improvise with rolling a few towels instead of a bolster.
Throughout our restorative practice begin to focus on your breath and close your mouth, breathing through the nose. Focus on deep inhales and nourishing exhales which will aid in calming the body and leaving you feeling refreshed. Always come back to the breath once you are set up in your posture.
7 Restorative Yoga Poses
1) Extended Balasana (Extended Child’s Pose) – Beautiful resting pose, brings calmness and awareness to the body. Aids in stretching the lower back muscles and buttocks.
*Please be mindful of the knees
*Pregnant – take knees hip width apart and place a bolster underneath the chest for support
- Sit towards the back of your mat, buttocks to heels. If any tension in your knees, place your folded blanket between your buttocks and calf muscles as you sit back to provide a cushion and support.
- Hinging from the hips bend forward until your chest is resting on your knees and gently rest your forehead on the floor. Feel free to rest your head on the block, or create two fists and stack them to rest the head on, if it does not reach the floor.
- Extend your arms forward so they are straight on either side of the body with palms facing flat on the floor.
- Gently roll your forehead from side to side on the floor to melt away any tension. Hold for 3 minutes.
- To release, inhale looking forward and exhale gently walking the hands back by your sides and come to a seated position upright.
2) Adho Mukha Virasana ( Down-face Warrior Posture) – Beautiful resting position, aids in stretching the groin and great flexion in the hip joints, stretches the lower back.
*Please be mindful of the knees
- Sitting towards the back of your mat, big toes touching together, open your knees apart to the outer edges of your mat.
- Rest your buttocks on your heels (if needed please use your blanket between your buttocks and calf muscles for support).
- Place your bolster vertically between your legs, snuggling one end towards your groin.
- Inhale looking forward and opening the chest, Exhale keeping your buttocks on your heels and walk your hands forward, hinging from the hips and rest your chest and upper body on the bolster.
- Turn your head to the right for 3 minutes, remembering to breath, and then turn your head to the left for 3 minutes, remembering to breath.
- To release, inhale looking forward and exhale walking the hands back by your side and sitting upright.
3) Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby) – Great pose for opening the hip joints, releasing the lower back, and stretches the hamstrings. It helps to relieve stress and calms the body and the mind.
*Please be mindful if you have a knee injury
*Please be mindful if you have a neck injury and roll a blanket to place underneath your head for support if needed
*Ensure to keep a straight spine
- Lay down supine (back to mat) on the mat
- Bend your legs, knees to chest, and open the knees wide and down towards the armpits
- Ensure to stack the ankles over the knees and take your hands to gently hold onto the outer edges of your feet
- Pull your feet gently towards the floor as you feel this juicy stretch. Remember to breath and aim to release your lower back towards the floor so the entire spine is resting on the floor.
- Hold for 1 minute and then release your feet to the mat, and take a few deep breaths. Repeat if you wish!
4) Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) – Beautiful inner groin stretch, relaxes the mind and nervous system, allows energy and blood to flow through the pelvic area, and improves the digestive system
*Pregnancy – please use an additional bolster to lift you on a higher inclination underneath the main bolster
*Please be mindful of knee injuries and back pain. To support your knees place a block or rolled blanket underneath each knee if needed.
- Place your bolster long ways on the mat, sit about a hand distance away from the top of the bolster in Baddha Konasana (sitting tall with soles of the feet drawn together and knees gently opening to the sides)
- If you would like you can use your strap to place around your lower back, between the knees, and around the tops of the feet. The strap should be taught and buckled to the side so it is not on your feet or digging in your hip. Please keep the strap in place around your lower back.
- Slowly start to recline and lower onto your elbows for support, and then lower your back onto the bolster.
- Place your arms on either side of the body with your palms facing the sky
- Keep the soles of the feet together, tuck your chin towards your chest which will help to lengthen your spine, and if needed for neck support you can place a blanket underneath the head
- Enjoy this resting posture for about 5 minutes and remember to breath. Feel free to place your eye pillow over your eyes as you rest deep into the posture.
5) Upavistha Konasana (Supported Wide-Angle Forward Fold) – Excellent posture for the groin and reproductive system, allows blood and energy to flow in the pelvic area, improves flexibility, and stretch the hamstrings
*Avoid with any inner groin strains, be mindful of any sacroiliac injuries
- Fold blanket in half and come to sit on the buttocks on the folded edge of the blanket. This will assist in a forward pelvic tilt and relieve lower back tension.
- Open legs into a wide ‘V’ shape with the toes and knee caps pointing towards the sky
- Place your bolster lengthwise in between your legs(or even a chair in front of you for more of a relaxed stretch)
- Keep a small micro bend in the knees and activate the thighs, inhale and lengthen up the spine and draw the navel to the spine
- After you have lengthened the spine, hinge from the hips and exhale walking the hands forward. Rest your chest on either the bolster or the base of a chair.
- Continue to breath and hold for 3 minutes. To release, inhale looking forward and exhale lifting the chest and walking the hands back to your side.
6) Viparita Karani (Fountain of Youth or Legs Up the Wall Pose) – Awww, this is a beautiful pose that I always love to do whenever I have a few minutes to spare. A relaxing and restorative pose that calms the nervous system, eases muscle tension, relieves fatigue and stress, helps with lower back pain, and is a cooling posture that lowers the blood pressure. I highly recommend adding this pose to your day to allow the days stresses to melt away.
*Pregnancy – raise the torso on a bolster and avoid lying flat
- Move your yoga mat to the wall
- Sit facing the left side of your mat with your right hip to the wall.
- Pivot around and lie down on the mat flat, and raise your legs up the wall
- Ensure that your buttocks is resting on the mat and touching the wall if possible
- Keep your feet and heels together, with the feet flexed back and the legs active
- Allow your arms to lay by your sides with the palms facing up or rest your hands on your tummy
- Melt your shoulders down to the earth, and tilt your chin towards your chest to lengthen the spine
- Close your eyes and if you like place your eye pillow gently over your eyes.
- Focus on your breath with a deep inhale and nourishing exhale
- Hold for 5 minutes and release by tucking your knees down towards your chest and slowly rolling to your right hand side, your left hand can help push you to a seated position.
7) Savasana (Corpse Pose) – Ideal for sealing your yoga practice and allowing the full benefits of all of the poses you have just done flow through your body. Rest your body and still the mind and allow any remaining tensions to melt away. Savasana helps to balance and calm the nervous system and most importantly helps to create inner peace.
*Pregnancy raise your head and chest on a bolster
- Lay down back flat on the mat, have your bolster handy to slide horizontal underneath your knees. This will help ease any tension in the lower back.
- Place your eye pillow gently over your eyes and rest your arms by your side, palms facing towards the sky
- Allow your feet & hands to relax, fingers & toes to relax, and take a deep inhale and nourishing exhale to release any lingering tension
- Allow the floor to support your body and relax the whole body on the mat
- Give yourself as much time as possible in savasana (approx 5 – 10 minutes)
- When you are ready to release gently bring awareness back to the body and allow the fingers and toes to wiggle, bringing gentle movement back to the body
- Take a deep stretch bringing the arms along the floor and over your head, lengthening the body, then roll to the right hand side and gently come to a seated position
Enjoy these 7 Restorative Yoga Poses and I hope they bring you sweet release of daily tension, inner peace, and calm body, mind, spirit!
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for a qualified yoga instructor. The author is not a medical doctor and is not responsible for any consequences regarding your use or intended use of any information provided on this site. Always check with your medical professional or seek out a trained yoga instructor in person.