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What is restorative yoga?

Yoga focuses on the connection between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the self and it is a deeply personal practice. Through the asana practice we can experience all of this if our practice is consistent and mindful. Finding the most suitable type of asana practice for you is very important because there are many to choose from. Ultimately, whichever type you feel most connected with, that is probably what you should be doing for that moment in your life.

Restorative yoga is a gentle type of yoga on the physical body which takes us into a state of relaxation by focusing on gentle asanas always supported by yoga props, so that there is minimal physical effort. Making use of the props, restorative yoga is all about being kind to your body, using bolsters, blankets and blocks to carefully assist the body and provide maximum relaxation. The poses are usually held for longer than other types of practices, some holding between 2-5 minutes. By staying in the pose for longer and applying very little physical effort of the body, the focus can be on regulating the breath and calming the mind. Whilst you are in the poses it’s very important to breathe deeply and just sink in even deeper, letting go of resistance and simply just letting yourself surrender. ​


Suota Baddha Konasana restorative yoga

Lie down in a supine position and place the bolster vertically under your spine. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together. As this is a restorative practice and little effort should be done in the physical body, place a block under each knee. This pose is great for opening and activating the heart chakra, otherwise known as the anahata chakra. It provides a deep sense of calm and helps relax the body and mind. Stay in this pose for at least 3 minutes.


Supported utthita balasana

With or without the use of a bolster, Balasana is always a beautiful and gentle asana. In restorative practice, the bolster is used as a means of support but also there is something so comforting about hugging the bolster. It feels as tough you are hugging yourself, and this is the beauty of restorative yoga. Relax and breathe deeply.


Restorative side stretch pose

This restorative side stretch is a great way to stretch the intercostal muscles and the sides of the body. Using the bolster, come onto your right hip and bend your knees. Lean onto one side of the body and ensure you are comfortable. Extend the arms above the head and just focus on your breath. Close your eyes and relax in this pose for about 2 minutes and then do the same for this side.


Restorative suota virasana

The restorative variation of Supta Virasana involves using a bolster or a cushion under the spine to provide a cushiony support for the back. If you feel any pain in your knee, extend that leg, as for some this can happen during reclined hero. Hold this pose for aabout 2 minutes, but do come out of it if you feel too much pressure. Back bends can release different feelings and emotions, so always be in tune with your body and most importantly be kind to yourself.