Restorative yoga is a gentle and relaxing form of yoga that focuses on rejuvenating the body and mind. Unlike more vigorous yoga practices, restorative yoga emphasizes deep relaxation, mindfulness, and restoration.

What is Restorative Yoga

What is Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga involves a series of simple poses that are held for an extended period, often with the support of props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks. By supporting the body in these poses, restorative yoga helps release tension and promote deep relaxation, allowing the body and mind to fully unwind and recharge.

Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, improve your flexibility, or simply give yourself a much-needed break, restorative yoga is an excellent practice to incorporate into your daily routine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Restorative yoga is a gentle and relaxing form of yoga that focuses on rejuvenating the body and mind.
  • It involves simple poses held for an extended period, often with the support of props.
  • Restorative yoga promotes deep relaxation, tension release, and restoration.
  • It is an excellent practice to reduce stress, improve flexibility, and support overall well-being.

The Origins of Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is a gentle form of yoga that focuses on relaxation and healing. But where did the practice actually come from? Let’s explore the history and origins of restorative yoga.

The concept of using props to support the body during yoga poses has been around for centuries. In traditional yoga practices, props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks were used to help students safely and comfortably achieve various poses.

However, the specific practice of restorative yoga as we know it today was developed in the 1970s by yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater. Lasater was influenced by the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, a prominent figure in the world of yoga who emphasized the use of props and alignment in yoga practice.

Lasater saw the potential for using props to support the body in deep relaxation poses, which led to the development of restorative yoga. She created a series of poses that were specifically designed to promote relaxation and healing, and the practice quickly gained popularity among students and teachers alike.

The Origins of Restorative Yoga

1970sJudith Hanson Lasater develops restorative yoga
20th centuryUse of props in traditional yoga practices

The practice of restorative yoga has continued to evolve over time, with new poses and variations being introduced by teachers around the world. Today, it is considered an essential part of many yoga studios and classes, as well as a popular practice for individuals looking to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

history of restorative yoga

Key Principles of Restorative Yoga

In restorative yoga, the emphasis is on relaxation and release rather than effort and exertion. The key principles of this practice include:

  • Minimizing physical effort: By using props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks, restorative yoga poses are designed to support the body in a passive, comfortable position.
  • Extended hold times: Restorative yoga poses are typically held for longer periods, allowing the body to fully release tension and settle into a state of deep relaxation.
  • Focus on breath: Restorative yoga utilizes breathwork, such as deep belly breathing, to calm the mind and promote relaxation.
  • Mindful awareness: Restorative yoga encourages a state of mindful awareness, allowing practitioners to fully experience the present moment and connect with their inner selves.

The techniques utilized in restorative yoga are designed to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” response. This promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps the body to heal and restore itself.

principles of restorative yoga

Benefits of Restorative Yoga for the Body

Restorative yoga is a gentle form of yoga that utilizes props, such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks, to support the body and allow for deep relaxation. This practice offers numerous benefits for the body, including:

Physical BenefitExplanation
Reduces stress and tensionRestorative yoga promotes a state of relaxation that can reduce the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in the body. This, in turn, can decrease tension in the muscles and promote overall physical relaxation.
Improves flexibilityThe use of props in restorative yoga allows for passive stretching that can help increase flexibility over time. This is especially beneficial for individuals who may have limited mobility or experience discomfort in more active forms of yoga.
Enhances postureRestorative yoga poses often involve gentle backbends and chest openers that can counteract the effects of slouching or sitting for extended periods. These poses can help create length in the spine and promote better overall posture.
Supports deep relaxationRestorative yoga offers a deeply relaxing practice that can have a soothing effect on the nervous system. This, in turn, can promote better sleep and overall physical restoration.

Regardless of your fitness level or yoga experience, restorative yoga can offer numerous physical benefits that promote relaxation and overall well-being.

physical benefits of restorative yoga

Benefits of Restorative Yoga for the Mind

Restorative yoga not only benefits the body but also has numerous positive effects on the mind. In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety are prevalent, and it can be challenging to find a reprieve. Luckily, restorative yoga provides an avenue for stress relief and mental restoration.

Mental benefits of restorative yoga:

Stress ReliefRestorative yoga can reduce stress and tension in the mind, leading to feelings of deep relaxation and calmness.
Anxiety ReductionStudies have shown that restorative yoga can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
Mental ClarityRestorative yoga helps to quiet the mind and cultivate mindfulness, allowing for increased mental clarity and focus.

By incorporating restorative yoga into your routine, you can unlock these transformative benefits and promote a greater sense of well-being.

Restorative yoga is especially effective for stress relief, as it allows the mind and body to relax fully. Supported postures and gentle breathwork can help to soothe frayed nerves and calm overactive thoughts.

By taking time to focus on the breath and the present moment, restorative yoga can help to alleviate stress, promote relaxation, and restore balance to the mind and body.

restorative yoga for stress relief

Restorative Yoga Poses and Sequences

Restorative yoga is a gentle practice that emphasizes relaxation and restoration. In this section, we will explore a variety of restorative yoga poses and sequences that can help calm the mind and promote deep relaxation.

Gentle Inversions

Gentle inversions are a great way to reduce stress and tension in the body. To practice Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose, sit with one hip against a wall and gently swing your legs up the wall. Allow your arms to rest comfortably at your sides and remain in this pose for 5-10 minutes.

Supported Forward Folds

Supported forward folds are another excellent way to promote relaxation and release tension in the body. To practice Half-Forward Fold, sit with your legs extended in front of you and a bolster or folded blanket supporting your torso. Rest your forehead on the bolster and remain in this pose for several minutes, focusing on your breath.

Child’s PoseRelaxes the shoulders, neck, and back
Reclining Bound Angle PoseStimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion
Corpse PosePromotes deep relaxation and helps alleviate stress

In addition to these poses, there are many other restorative yoga poses and sequences that you can explore to promote relaxation and well-being. Incorporating these poses into your regular yoga practice or daily routine can help support your overall health and wellness.

restorative yoga poses

Incorporating Restorative Yoga into Your Routine

If you’re a beginner to restorative yoga, incorporating it into your routine can seem daunting. However, restorative yoga is accessible to individuals of all fitness levels and yoga experience. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Create a dedicated space: Find a quiet space where you can practice without distractions. Decorate the space with calming elements, such as candles or plants, to enhance your relaxation.
  • Invest in props: Restorative yoga poses utilize props, such as blankets, blocks, and bolsters, to support your body in gentle stretches. Invest in high-quality props to make your practice more comfortable and effective.
  • Start slow: Begin with simple poses, such as supported child’s pose or legs up the wall, and gradually build to more complex sequences as your body becomes more comfortable. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.
  • Practice regularly: Incorporate restorative yoga into your daily routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Consistency is key to experiencing the full benefits of this practice.

By following these tips, you can establish a regular restorative yoga practice that promotes deep relaxation and overall well-being. Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself as you explore this transformative practice.

restorative yoga for beginners

Restorative Yoga and Overall Wellness

Restorative yoga is a powerful tool for enhancing your overall wellness. This gentle form of yoga offers numerous holistic benefits for both the body and mind, making it an excellent addition to any wellness routine. By incorporating restorative yoga into your daily practice, you can experience profound relaxation, physical restoration, and mental clarity.

Research has shown that restorative yoga can have a positive impact on various aspects of health and wellness. It has been found to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase flexibility, and promote overall physical well-being. Restorative yoga can also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost mood, and enhance emotional resilience.

The Holistic Benefits of Restorative Yoga

One of the unique benefits of restorative yoga is its ability to engage both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This balance between the two systems promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and supports overall emotional well-being.

Additionally, restorative yoga can help cultivate mindfulness and promote a sense of inner peace. By allowing yourself to fully let go of stress and tension, you can become more present in the moment and experience a greater sense of mental clarity.

How Restorative Yoga Complements Other Wellness Practices

Restorative yoga can be an excellent complement to other wellness practices, such as meditation, mindfulness, and physical exercise. When combined with these practices, restorative yoga can support even greater physical and mental health benefits.

For example, incorporating restorative yoga into your post-workout routine can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. Combining restorative yoga with meditation or mindfulness techniques can enhance their benefits by promoting a deeper sense of relaxation and mental clarity.

restorative yoga and wellness


Overall, restorative yoga is an essential component of any wellness routine. Its numerous physical and mental benefits make it an excellent tool for promoting overall health and well-being.

So why not give restorative yoga a try? With regular practice, you can experience the transformative benefits of this powerful wellness practice.


What is restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga is a gentle and relaxing form of yoga that focuses on rest and rejuvenation. It involves a series of supported poses using props such as blankets, bolsters, and pillows to allow the body to fully relax and release tension.

What are the benefits of restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga offers numerous benefits for the body and mind. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve flexibility and posture, promote deep relaxation, and cultivate mindfulness. It is also known to enhance physical restoration and overall well-being.

What are the origins of restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga has its roots in traditional yoga practices and has evolved over time to prioritize relaxation and healing. It draws inspiration from various yoga traditions, including the use of props from B.K.S. Iyengar’s teachings, and the restorative work of Judith Hanson Lasater.

What are the key principles of restorative yoga?

The key principles of restorative yoga include the use of props to support the body in poses, the practice of gentle breathwork and mindfulness, and the emphasis on relaxation and surrender. These principles create a nurturing and safe environment for deep restoration.

What are the physical benefits of restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga offers numerous physical benefits. It helps release tension in the body, reduces muscle stiffness, improves flexibility, and can even alleviate chronic pain. It also supports healthy digestion, improves circulation, and enhances overall physical well-being.

What are the mental benefits of restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga has several mental benefits. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. It cultivates mindfulness and enhances mental clarity, promoting a more balanced and focused mind.

Are there specific restorative yoga poses and sequences?

Yes, there are specific restorative yoga poses and sequences designed to promote deep relaxation and restoration. Some common poses include supported child’s pose, reclining bound angle pose, and legs up the wall pose. Sequences often incorporate these poses and focus on different areas of the body.

Can beginners practice restorative yoga?

Absolutely! Restorative yoga is suitable for practitioners of all levels, including beginners. The use of props and the gentle nature of the practice make it accessible to everyone, regardless of their yoga experience or fitness level.

How can I incorporate restorative yoga into my routine?

You can incorporate restorative yoga into your routine by setting aside dedicated time for practice. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. You can also join restorative yoga classes or use online resources to guide your practice.

How does restorative yoga contribute to overall wellness?

Restorative yoga is a holistic practice that contributes to overall wellness. It promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being by reducing stress, improving sleep quality, enhancing relaxation, and fostering a deeper connection with oneself. It can complement other wellness practices and support a balanced lifestyle.

Katty Linsky, a certified Restorative Yoga teacher based in the vast landscapes of Russia, has dedicated herself to the art of yoga.

Her journey through yoga, particularly the gentle practice of Restorative Yoga, has been a transformative and enlightening one, rooted in a deep passion for holistic wellness and a commitment to sharing its benefits.