I have noticed a lot of confusion with both students and even teachers as to what Restorative Yoga is and what it isn’t. Often people think as soon a Yoga bolster comes off the props shelf that suddenly we are practicing Restorative Yoga and that just not the case.
Although Restorative Yoga does rely heavily on Yoga props, many styles of Yoga use props to make Yoga more accessible to a variety of bodies in any style of Yoga.
There is also often confusion on the difference between Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga. I did a whole post on that you can read that here.
At this point you might be thinking, so what is Restorative Yoga then?
Restorative Yoga enables deep relaxation as you hold the poses for longer periods of time, often 15-20 min, with the use of props to support the body.
Restorative Yoga leans heavily on props.
It’s not uncommon to have more than one bolster, a few blankets, bricks and blocks, chairs, eye pillows and more. The props help to completely support your body.
The main focus of Restorative Yoga is to relax completely in poses, using the props, so there is no strain or pain. With a Restorative Yoga practice, we surrender into physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.
The intention of Restorative Yoga is deep rest.
In our fast-paced, stressful world we are often in our sympathetic nervous system (fight-flight or freeze). Restorative Yoga helps us to switch gears and drop into our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest or tend and befriend) aspect of our nervous system.
In a Restorative practice, we are not trying to feel a stretch, we are not trying to feel work or effort.
Judith Hanson Lasater (who is known as the queen of Restorative Yoga) says this:
“Restorative Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of comfort and ease to facilitate relaxation and health. Restorative Yoga is about opening, not about stretching. A few of the poses might create a slight stretch, but stretching is not the intention at all.”
– Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., PT.
When Should We Practice Restorative Yoga?
Restorative Yoga is great to balance an active Yoga practice or to give yourself a break when you feel under the weather. Anytime you are feeling exhausted physically or emotionally.
I practice Restorative anytime I need extra self-care.
You will need many props for this practice so feel free to get creative with things you already have at home. If you are looking at investing in Yoga Props I highly recommend Half Moon.
I’m not an affiliate, I just love the quality of their products. You can use this code at check out to save 10% ND10.
In the video below I will walk you through a Restorative practice, to recharge your batteries, and encourage deep rest.
enjoy some deep rest