Introduction to Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that places emphasis on relaxation, calming the mind and the body through low-intensity poses held over a long period of time. Props such as bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps are used to help create more restful poses as well as to support the body in order to take any strain away from the joints or muscles. This type of yoga has been proven to help reduce stress, improve moods and potentially even improve sleep quality. In short, it’s the perfect way for both beginners and experienced yogis alike to relax into their practice – or just enjoy some quiet me time!
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga poses with props can be used to help the body and mind relax. The use of props can provide support, making it easier to hold the poses for longer periods of time. This slow-paced style of yoga has a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. Physically, restorative yoga helps improve flexibility while also releasing tension stored in the muscles and joints. It also improves blood circulation throughout the body by gently stretching restricted areas and improving movement range. Mentally, this style of yoga helps to reduce stress, release tension stored in the mind, and boost feelings of emotional wellbeing. Restorative yoga can help reduce anxiety while increasing feelings of relaxation, clarity and calmness. Additionally, it helps to improve sleep quality; allowing you to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Understanding Props for Restorative Yoga
When it comes to building a restorative yoga practice, props can be an invaluable tool. Props help beginners and more seasoned yogis alike find greater comfort and relaxation in poses. It is important for beginners to think about the types of props that are available, as well as understanding which are best suited for their needs.
The most common type of prop used in restorative yoga is the bolster or “Zabuton” cushion, typically filled with organic buckwheat. It can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes with either rim or no rim, depending on its primary purpose. Bolsters provide support when performing passive poses and work to alleviate pressure points or pain that could arise from prolonged periods in a pose. These props offer a comfortable way to explore the body’s postural alignment for extended period of time.
Blankets are another commonly used prop for restorative yoga, serving multiple purposes from posture support to bolster filling. They have textured surfaces ranging from thin lightweight cottons to thick woolens that aid in gentle body wrapping. Eye pillows provide supportive darkness during relaxation by blocking out outside light and gently stimulating pressure points around the eyes, allowing practitioners to block out mental noise as well.
Finally, yoga straps are often used for deep stretching exercises during restorative classes to expose areas of tight movement patterns or bind limbs together during poses like supta baddha konasana or supported fish pose. Straps act as helpful tools while finding correct shape in postures without straining the muscles too much or forcing them into deeper depths beyond what they are ready for.
All these props can help make restorative yoga feel accessible, enjoyable and deeply therapeutic at any level of practice!
Demonstration of Simple Beginner Restorative Yoga Poses Using Props
Supported Child’s Pose: Begin by bringing a bolster or pillow between your legs and sitting with your back towards it. Then, gently lie down on the bolster and bring your arms either side of you, parallel to the ground. Ensure to have a blanket placed next to you that you can drape over yourself for warmth and comfort. This pose is calming, grounding and soothing – allowing tight muscles in the lower body to deeply relax.
Supported Fish Pose: To set up this pose, begin by getting into a supported bridge position — place a bolster under the upper back as well as bringing your feet flat onto the floor and allow shoulders blades to spread outward. Once settled here, lower carefully down onto the bolster so that you are resting with the heart centre towards the sky and adjusting whatever feels comfortable for you in terms of how much of the stomach or chest lies on it. Once settled here – rest with arms upward however if it’s comfortable feel free to lower them outwards or bring them into an embrace shape around the chest (whichever feels most cozy!). This pose opens up tight chests muscles creating space for expansion in that area – allowing for softness and deep breaths in this area too.
Summary of Benefits of incorporating Props into Restorative Yoga
Using props in your Restorative yoga practice can provide your body with the added support it needs to achieve the postures correctly. Props help deepen your awareness by allowing the body to fully relax into a pose rather than experiencing muscles straining to get there. With extra support from pillows, blocks, and straps, you can access more appropriate body alignment so that even basic postures can become more rewarding and beneficial. With this also comes increased circulation as muscles are brought into healthy levels of stretching, predictable neck and hip lines for stability, and improved breathing technique due to adequate space around the rib cage. Props not only benefit you physically but psychologically as well; when poses are held for longer durations, a gentle soothing effect is triggered which melts away stress.
Tips for Incorporating Props into Restorative Yoga Practice
Using props in restorative yoga poses can make them both comfortable, and more effective. For example, the use of bolsters or pillows can help make poses like Savasana and supported bound angle pose more comfortable, allowing practitioners to completely relax and release into the stretch without putting any strain on their bodies. Counterposes are great to incorporate when using props as they balance out each side of the body – for example, if a bolster is used for Supported Bridge Pose then consider doing its counterpose (Inverted Bridge Pose/Locust Pose) on the other side. For more challenging poses such as supine twist (Jathara Parivartanasana), cushions on either side can be used for elevation along with blocks placed under bent knees to lower pressure on the neck and spine muscles. Straps are helpful during seated forward folds where hamstrings may be tight. Finally, a wall space is valuable for working with core strength in which it can provide stability ideally suited to help lengthen key areas such as the shoulder blades while strengthening postural muscles.
The use of props can be an incredibly valuable tool in helping to deepen your practice with restorative yoga poses. Their presence and support can help you comfortably hold poses for longer, allowing your body to fully relax into the pose and explore a greater sense of openness and connection from within. Try out some of the beginner poses above with props, then expand your experience by exploring more relaxing poses available with restorative yoga. With props such as blocks, bolsters, blankets and straps, you will be able to enhance your yoga practice in many beneficial ways.
I am passionate about yoga and this is my blog. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 5. Yoga has transformed my life in so many ways and I love being able to share that with others. My hope is that through this blog, I can help people learn more about yoga, connect with other yogis, and find inspiration to live a healthier, happier life.