Calling all my vinyasa junkies out there (and anyone, really) – this is your sign to balance your stressed-out self with this restorative yoga sequence. If you just rolled your eyes upon reading that, keep reading!
Don’t get me wrong, I loooove a super sweaty, flowy, music-pumping vinyasa class. I love the challenge and the way it brings a bunch of people to breath and move together.
Related to Vinyasa Junkies: Tips and Tricks for 10 Arm Balances and Inversions
BUT, if that’s all you practice, you’re seriously missing out on another type of ooey-gooey (like chocolate lava cake, but good for you) yoga goodness. And that deliciousness is restorative yoga.
Restorative yoga is designed for deep relaxation and for bringing balance into the body – especially for those yogis who are always lighting their fire and pushing themselves.
As I said before, I love a sweaty class, but the hard truth is that when you physically push yourself to your edge, you’re putting stress on your body. Most of the time, this is good stress (yes, there’s such a thing).
The downside? If you’re working a stressful job, are stressed with the busy-ness in your personal life, and then continue to put stress on your physical body through rigorous workouts, you end up wearing yourself out. Yes, going hard is putting stress on your body (and your mind, in case you were wondering). That’s why every exercise program you find includes rest days.
Otherwise known as, getting sick because your body is telling you to slow the F down.
Restorative yoga helps you destress, so what? It also encourages mindfulness, which, I’m sure to your surprise, also helps you destress by keeping you in the present moment. By staying present, you don’t unnecessarily worry about what’s coming ahead, and what has happened before. You’re able to surrender through supportive poses.
Have trouble finding any sort of calm? I hear you and got you covered.
Outside of de-stressing, restorative yoga also gently increase flexibility and calms your nervous system (the system responsible for processing your stressful life).
Each pose is intended to be held for three to five minutes, with some suggestions to hold for five to ten minutes. If you’re thinking “whoa, that’s a long-ass time”, I hear you. The first time I did restorative yoga I was a recovering vinyasa-only practitioner and the thought of holding poses for minutes seemed ridiculous.
But then we started class and I just melted. Within minutes I was uber relaxed. And hooked. AKA yoga stoned.
With that, let’s get started yogis!
- Rolled up towel or throw blanket in place of a blanket
Firm Pillows to use in place of a bolster or blocks
Since you won’t have a teacher guiding you through this, and setting a timer isn’t necessarily relaxing, find a calming spotify playlist and hold poses for the duration of songs instead. I’ve noted recommended times to hold poses, but anywhere in that general timeframe should do just fine! Remember to make this work for you (duh). This whole flow should take about twenty five minutes. And one of my favorite Spotify playlists is here here.
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Props: Bolster, Blanket and Two Blocks
How To: Come to sit on the heels and bring the knees as wide as the short-side of the bolster. Place the bolster in front of you with your blocks underneath the bolster. If you’re quite open in the hips and knees, you may not need this much lift.
Place the blanket underneath your hamstrings so it sits directly between the back of the legs and the back of the calves. This supports extended flexion in the knees if you need it.
Lower the torso onto the bolster and come onto one side of the face. The arms can come to either side of the bolster or rest underneath the head, whichever is more comfortable. Hold on one side for three minutes, then switch sides and hold again for another three minutes. Allow the hips and chest to soften and relax.
Supported Prone Hip Opener
How To: Gently rising from supported child’s pose to sit on the heels. Remove the blocks from underneath the bolster and place the bolster to the right of the mat. Come to lay on the stomach and bring the bent right leg up to rest on the bolster.
Option to place the blanket underneath the left knee and shin if that brings more comfort into the pose. Rest the head either on the hands or rest on the right cheek. Hold on each side for four minutes.
Props: Bolster and One Block
How To: Lifting the chest from the bolster from supported hip opener pose, bring the bolster in front of the chest. Bring the right knee towards right wrist, but not worrying about getting the shin parallel to the short edge of the mat. Remember, this is supposed to be relaxing!
Option to keep the blanket underneath the left shin and knee, place a block underneath the right hip. Roll the chest onto the bolster, resting the right cheek on the bolster and placing the arms on either side.
Allow yourself to find a place of comfort in this pigeon pose. Hold on each side for three minutes.
Props: Bolster or Two Blocks and a Blanket
How To: Moving to sit on the hips, bring either a bolster or two blocks pressed together and covered by a blanket, to just behind the belly button. Using a bolster will likely be less of an opening (i.e. less intense) for the chest. Legs and arms extend long. Melt into this pose for five minutes, focusing on opening the chest and allowing yourself to relax.
Supported Supine Spinal Twist
How To: Removing the bolster from underneath the spine and bringing the bolster to your left side, come to lie flat on your back. Pull the right knee towards the right shoulder, extending the left leg long. Bring the right knee across the body so it rests on the bolster (placed on the left). Keep the spine long and the shoulders open. Hold for three minutes on each side.
Legs Up The Wall
How To: Coming back to lie flat on your back, place the blanket underneath the hips and low back, and bring the seat as close to the wall as you can. Extend the legs up the wall and bring the arms by your sides. Relax here for at least five minutes to wind down your practice.
Whew, how do you feel now? Hopefully a little more gooey and yoga-stoned. Let me know how this flow went for you in the comments below and remember to subscribe to updates below, where I share tips, tricks and resources for living your best life.
Pin now, restore later!