Restorative Yoga is the practice of asanas, each held for longer than in conventional yoga as exercise classes, often with the support of props such as folded blankets, to relax the body, reduce stress, and often to prepare for pranayama.
Restorative Yoga sessions allow the body to slow down and relax in a small number of asanas. Each pose is held for longer than in conventional classes, sometimes for twenty minutes, so a session may consist of only four to six asanas. The long holding of poses is often assisted with props such as folded blankets, blocks, and bolsters to ensure the body is fully supported and so to allow the muscles to relax.
The yoga teacher Cyndi Lee suggests a short sequence of six asanas, all with the use of supports: reclining bound angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), legs up the wall (Viparita Karani), a prone twist with both knees to one side, a sitting forward bend (Paschimottanasana), child's pose (Balasana), and corpse pose (Savasana, with or without supports).
Geraldine Beirne, writing in The Guardian, called Restorative Yoga "all about healing the mind and body through simple poses often held for as long as 20 minutes, with the help of props such as bolsters, pillows and straps".
The martial arts coach Eric C. Stevens, stating that he found being still more difficult than a "five mile run", was surprised to start the Restorative Yoga class with Savasana (corpse pose), and to see so many props in use - blanket, pillow, eye bag, strap, blocks. He found his mind strongly challenged during the class, and he slept very soundly afterwards. He recommended the practice for people who feel close to burnout.
Difference from Yin Yoga
Restorative Yoga is mainly for practitioners suffering from injuries, stress, or illness, who therefore require a yoga practice that can bring them back to a better quality of life; classes are necessarily small so that each person can receive detailed attention to ensure they are safe and properly supported. Yin Yoga uses props in a similar way, and holds poses for similarly long periods, but is aimed mainly at healthy practitioners, and is taught in larger classes.
- Isaacs, Nora (5 April 2007). "Exercisers Slow It Down With Qigong". The New York Times.
Judith Hanson Lasater, a yoga teacher since 1971 who now teaches restorative yoga, a form that encourages relaxation.
- Lasater 1995.
- Gates 2006, pp. 89–94.
- Pizer, Ann (24 March 2019). "An Introduction to Restorative Yoga". Very Well Fit. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- "Restorative Yoga". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
- Lee 2004, pp. 227–240.
- Beirne, Geraldine (10 January 2014). "Yoga: a beginner's guide to the different styles". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- Stevens, Eric C. "What the Heck Is Restorative Yoga and Why Should I Do It?". Breaking Muscle. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- "Yin Yoga or Restorative Yoga?". Yin Yoga. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
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- Lee, Cyndi (2004). Yoga Body, Buddha Mind. Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1-59448-024-9.
- Long, Nancy Hodge (2016). Restorative Yoga: Restful poses to cradle the body, comfort the heart, calm the mind. Crystal Heart Imprints. ISBN 978-0972100359.
- Norberg, Ulrica (2016). Restorative Yoga : reduce stress, gain energy, and find balance. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-5107-0530-2. OCLC 914219245.