This type of yoga uses props in supporting the body during relaxation into poses for a long period. This style aims to maintain a pose for a long time to promote passive stretching.
Examples of this pose that can be adapted as restorative pose using props like bolsters and blankers include gentle supine backbends, seated forward bends, and twists.
Practicing restorative yoga involves slow movements and body opening through passive stretching. Your movements may be restricted if you take restorative classes, doing only a few yoga postures that will last about 60 minutes. The experience you get from restorative yoga differs from most modern yoga practiced today.
Most yoga classes involved an active practice that promotes movement from one pose to another, building heat and improving your body strength and flexibility. Athletic and acrobatic styles of practicing yoga is what’s trending at the moment.
During the long hold periods in restorative yoga, the muscles are free to relax. This happens because props provide the necessary support your body needs instead of your muscles. Restorative yoga classes are very smooth; thus, there are good complementary poses to active practice and can help relieve stress effectively.
Use Props Everytime
Props are always used in restorative yoga to support the body so you can maintain poses for a long time. Postures are normally adapted from seated, or supine yoga poses and adding bolsters, blankets, and blocks to get rid of unnecessary straining of the muscles.
For example, you can convert a seated forward bend pose (paschimottana asana) to a restorative pose by placing several folded blankets or a bolster on your legs. This allows your whole torso rest on your props, providing support as you bend forward.
Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) is a classic restorative pose you may be familiar with. In this pose, the wall serves as a prop by supporting your legs. You can also adapt poses like reclined goddess pose and supported bridge pose into restorative poses.
What to Expect in Restorative Classes?
You should expect deep relaxation in restorative classes. Props will also be made available for practice by your instructor. Dimmed lights and playing of soft music is usually associated with restorative classes.
You are to hold each pose for a long time, within 10-20 minutes. You will feel the stretch even if you are supported. You need to focus on your breathing all through the pose. Depending on their style, the instructor may play music or talk you through meditation. The whole class may require you to perform only 4 or 5 poses.
You will feel open and refreshed at the end of the class. You may also feel little sore the following day due to the deep stretching. You can do restorative poses by yourself at home once you know the basic set-ups for a few poses. You may need to use some props, but blankets are usually used for most poses.
Is Restorative Yoga for You?
If you are looking for an effective way to relieve stress and enjoy meditative stretches for long periods, then try restorative yoga. Try attending the classes to grab the basic idea of this yoga style before doing it at home.
You need to be patient while performing the pose. It may be difficult to do this pose at first, but it gets easier the more you practice.