Restorative yoga is an opportunity for meditation and deep relaxation. It’s your chance to practice increased inner awareness and develop the mind body connection through a sequence of passive poses like Child’s pose, Corpse pose, Happy Baby pose, Legs-up-the-wall pose, and Reclining Hero pose, and Bridge pose that are mostly supported by props. But with our fast-paced twenty-first century lifestyles, it can sometimes be difficult to let go and be in the moment in a restorative yoga class. Yoga Journal offers these 5 tips to help you get the most out of a restorative yoga practice.
Rely on the props, not your body
One of the benefits to restorative yoga is that you let the props do the work rather than your muscles. Concentrate on letting the props support your body and allow your muscles to relax. Let the bolster hug you during Child’s pose. Let the block cradle your back in Bridge pose. Let that blanket keep you warm in Corpse pose.
Leave your eyes open
There’s no written rule that says you have to close your eyes during restorative yoga in order to relax. For some it helps to shut out the world, but others feel vulnerable when their eyes are closed; which can actually cause the mind to wander.
Because poses are held longer in restorative yoga as opposed to vinyasa, if you are new to restorative yoga, it might take a little time for your body to relax for the extended durations. The key is frequency. The more you practice, the quicker your level of relaxation will evolve and more easily respond to the five to twenty minutes for each pose.
Sometimes concentrating on whether or not you’re breathing correctly during restorative yoga can distract you from the purpose of the practice – to relax. Once you allow your body to relax and be supported by your props, just let your breathe rise and fall naturally but intently.
Prepare your space
Your instructor will no doubt provide you with a relaxing studio space for restorative yoga, but you can further customize the experience by preparing your individual practice space. Unroll your mat, wipe it clean, place your props within arm’s reach, including a blanket to keep your warm. Having a well prepped space before you begin can automatically make put you in a more relaxed mood.
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