Yoga classes have a rest period at the end of each class.
During this time, you can expect to find yourself lying on your mat, perhaps with gentle music in the background, as the instructor guides the class into a state of relaxation before sending the students back into the everyday world.
For those who especially like this portion of Yoga class or for those who are pregnant, injured, chronically exhausted or have other special challenges, a Restorative Yoga class may be highly beneficial.
Restorative Yoga raises relaxation almost to an art form by using numerous props to enable you to fully release effort and tension in a variety of postures.
If you’ve ever experienced the effortless feeling of lying in a zero-gravity recliner, you can use this as a reference of sorts for what Restorative Yoga aims to achieve.
Learn the Art of Relaxation
Total relaxation can be difficult in many Yoga postures such as backbends or shoulder stands.
In a Restorative Yoga class, you might be placed in these types of postures with the support of sturdy bolster cushions, rolled up blankets and other props under the curve of the back or wherever support is needed.
The props would enable you to experience the feeling of a lengthened spine and spacious ribcage area as you sink into the fully supported pose. What if you want a less or more intense backbend? Simply adjust the props to achieve an optimal posture for you.
Even a simple reclining pose can be a vehicle for deep release with a cushion under the knees, a rolled up towel under the neck and other supports. If you’re pregnant, lying flat on the back is not recommended, but Restorative Yoga has other soothing positions you can try with appropriate props.
The Tools of the Trade
What props are used in Restorative Yoga? Instructors may employ blocks, straps, blankets, towels, chairs, the wall and a variety of soft and firm cushions of different shapes and sizes.
Any equipment that can help achieve that exquisite feeling of deep release within a pose is fair game in Restorative Yoga.