Don’t you wish that you could just push a magic button and be transported to a gorgeous beach to relax under the sun and listen to the ocean waves? Maybe your “happy place” is somewhere different, but I’m sure you can empathize with the desire to just escape somewhere to reboot and rejuvenate from this exhausting time.
Restorative yoga offers us a chance to escape it all and give our minds and bodies a well-deserved break to deeply relax. Last year, as my mom went through breast cancer treatment, I practiced only restorative yoga for six months to manage the emotionally devastating experience. I can honestly say that the practice truly works for reducing stress and soothing the nervous system.
Some tips for restorative yoga:
- Be mindful of any injuries you may have before you start the class.
- Wear comfortable clothing and practice barefoot.
- Ensure the space is warm, quiet, and peaceful.
- Feel free to add your own calming affirmations, classical music, relaxation stories, or aromatherapy.
- Take the pose sequence very slowly and move into the poses without a rush.
- Take slow, deep breaths in each pose. Your breath is a powerful tool to bring you to the present moment.
- Use eye pillows and warm blankets for added relaxation.
- Holding the poses for a longer time might be awkward at first, but keep trying until it becomes more calming.
- Start your restorative yoga session with a few warmup exercises, such as a whole body stretch, knees to chest, lying twist, and cat-cow pose flow.
- Most importantly, embrace the experience, stay calm, and look for miracle yoga moments.
Restorative Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress
Below, you’ll find five deeply relaxing poses below to reduce stress and invite calm. Take your time getting into each of the poses with your props and ensure that you are fully comfortable. Using the props should not cause any pain, but instead should allow you to completely “let go” and relax deeply. Do what suits your body. The poses are held for longer periods of time to soothe the nervous system. We recommend three specific props to practice the restorative poses below (or in our Restorative Yoga Cards listed below): two foam blocks, a bolster, and a cotton or a wool blanket.
How to practice Supported Child’s Pose:
Sit on your heels on your folded blanket. Then take your knees apart and touch your toes together at the back of the blanket. Place the narrow end of the bolster between your legs and tight against your body. Slowly bring your torso down to rest on the bolster out in front of you, turn to rest on one cheek on the bolster, and place your arms down alongside it. After a minute or so, turn your cheek to the other side. Stay in this pose for a few minutes, relaxing your body deeply.
How to practice Supported Bridge Pose:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, with your palms flat on the ground. Tuck your chin into your chest and keep your spine straight. On an inhale, lift your buttocks and gently place a block or bolster under your lower back. Rest your arms down alongside your body. Breathe and relax.
How to practice Supported Lying Twist:
Lie flat on your back. Bend your legs and bring a bolster between your knees and ankles. Take your arms out parallel to the sides. Drop your knees over to the left and turn your head to look out to the right. You could take your left hand on top of your bent legs. Stay here for a few minutes, breathing deeply. Come back to center and repeat on the other side.
How to practice Legs Up the Wall Pose with Bolster or Block:
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift your buttocks and place a block under your lower back. Then slowly raise your legs straight up toward the sky, making an L shape with your body. Keeping your legs together, flex your feet. Spread your arms out to either side and keep your neck in a neutral position. You could also rest your legs up a wall instead. Close your eyes, breathe, and rest.
How to practice Resting Pose with Bolster:
Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. Slowly place a bolster under your knees. Place an eye pillow or towel over your eyes, breathe naturally, and rest for a few minutes.
I truly hope these restorative yoga poses provide you with a moment of peace and calm. We need to turn inward to build our strength and courage, to ultimately come through this pandemic with grace. This is an extremely difficult time, but we can do this, somehow and in some way.
“If you find yourself in a worldwide epidemic, this is a great opportunity to be at home. A time to go within, so we can follow a steady and good daily routine.”
Charaka Samhita (Sanskrit text on Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) composed in the pre-2nd century)
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Check Out Our Restorative Yoga Cards for Kids
These restorative yoga poses are designed to reduce stress and anxiety. Holding the poses for longer periods of time helps to soothe the nervous system. Props are suggested and used to provide support and comfort.
Download these 32 digital yoga cards to help children learn through movement in your home, classroom, or studio.
Includes an index card, pose instructions, 12 cards with colorful illustrations of the yoga poses, and 12 matching description cards.
The yoga kids are multicultural from seven countries. Ages 6+.
You May Also Enjoy Restorative Yoga Cards for Grownups
Take time to replenish and refresh so you can take on the world.
Restorative yoga poses are designed to reduce stress and anxiety. The poses are held for longer periods of time to soothe the nervous system.
This deck includes:
- 19 beautifully illustrated and engaging digital cards
- 12 deeply relaxing and restorative yoga poses with simple description of each pose
- Helpful yoga tips and ideas
- The yoga poses in the index are sequenced specifically to invite flow from one pose to the next.
Bring some much needed calm to your life and replenish yourself today.
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