5 Restorative Yoga Poses with Props

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5 Restorative Yoga Poses with Props

 

The world of yoga has countless styles and forms, each one offering unique benefits to the body, mind, and spirit. Among these, restorative yoga has emerged as a popular practice, especially for those looking to counterbalance their hectic lives with tranquility. 

In this blog post, we will shed light on what restorative yoga is, its benefits, and the props used. Additionally, we'll delve into some poses that you can incorporate into your practice. Let's get started.

 

What Is Restorative Yoga?

 

 man stretching in childs pose

Credit: Envato Elements/ seventyfourimages

 

Restorative yoga is a gentle, calming style of yoga that focuses on balancing the mind and body. It integrates the principles of mindfulness and relaxation with the physicality of yoga postures.

Unlike dynamic yoga styles that emphasize movement and strength, this style of yoga is characterized by long-held, fully supported poses that encourage passive stretching. The duration of each pose typically ranges from 5 to 20 minutes, allowing the body ample time to release tension and settle into a state of deep calmness.

 

The Benefits of Restorative Yoga

 

 woman doing yoga lying on back

Credit: Envato Elements/ koldunov

 

Restorative yoga offers multiple mental and physical benefits. Here are a few of the benefits offered by this practice:

 

Physical Benefits:

 

Enhances Flexibility: Restorative yoga gently stretches and opens the body. As the poses are held for longer durations, the muscles contract and release tension, leading to increased flexibility over time.

 

Improves Sleep Quality: Engaging in a restorative yoga routine can have a profound impact on the quality of your sleep. It prepares the body for a restful night by relaxing the mind and calming the body.

 

Aids in Pain Relief: Restorative yoga provides relief for individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, lower back pain, and migraines. Through gentle and deliberate stretching, this practice effectively eases muscle soreness and contributes to pain reduction, providing much-needed comfort.

 

Mental and Emotional Benefits:

 

Reduces Stress: Restorative yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's rest and digestion functions. This helps slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, thereby contributing to stress reduction.

 

Manages Anxiety and Depression: The deep relaxation that is part of restorative yoga can help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. The practice encourages self-compassion and provides a space for introspection, which can be therapeutic for those dealing with mental health issues.

 

Cultivates Mindfulness: Restorative yoga encourages present-moment awareness. As you hold the poses and focus on your breath, you become more attuned to your body and your mind, cultivating mindfulness.

 

Essential Props in Restorative Yoga

 

Props are fundamental to restorative yoga, providing the necessary support for the body to fully relax and surrender into each pose. The primary props used in restorative yoga include:

 

1) Yoga Bolsters

 

 man using yoga bolsters on arm

Credit: Envato Elements/ lakobchuk

 

Yoga bolsters are firm cushions, often cylindrical, used to support various parts of the body in different poses. They are particularly useful in poses involving backbends or hip openers.

 

2) Yoga Blocks

 

 Yoga blocks

Credit: Envato Elements/ habrovich

 

Yoga blocks can serve as extensions of the arms, providing support in poses where the hands may not easily reach the ground. They can also support the back, hips, and legs in various poses.

 

3) Yoga Straps

 

 yoga straps

Credit: Envato Elements/ habrovich

 

Yoga straps are used to increase reach and improve alignment in poses that involve stretching. They are particularly helpful for those with limited flexibility.

 

4) Yoga Blankets

 

 woman using yoga blanket

Credit: Envato Elements/ koldunov

 

Yoga blankets provide additional warmth, comfort, and support. They can be folded or rolled to serve as a bolster or block.

 

5) Yoga Wheel

 

 woman using yoga wheel

Credit: Envato Elements/ jurnalfotografic

 

The yoga wheel is a versatile prop that can support the spine, hips, and shoulders in various poses. It can be used to deepen stretches or add an extra challenge to balance poses.

 

6) Yoga Stretch Strap

 

 yoga stretch strap

Credit: Acupoint

 

A yoga stretch strap is similar to a regular yoga strap but usually includes multiple loops along its length. This design allows for easy adjustment and secure foot or hand placement, offering extra support in stretches and helping improve flexibility over time.

 

Restorative Yoga Poses With Props

 

Now that you know what restorative yoga is, let's delve into some specific restorative poses that you can incorporate into your practice:

 

1) Supported Child's Pose

 

 Supported child's pose

Credit: Envato Elements/ lakobchuk

 

Props Needed: Bolster, Blanket

 

The Supported Child's Pose is a deeply restorative pose that promotes introspection and breath awareness. It gently stretches the thighs, ankles, and hips, fostering a sense of safety and grounding.

 

To execute this pose, follow the steps below:

  • Kneel on your mat and separate your knees hip-width apart.
  • Place a bolster or folded blanket lengthwise between your knees and rest your torso on it. Make sure that your body feels completely supported.
  • Extend your arms either out in front of you or alongside the bolster.
  • Rest your forehead on the bolster, or if more comfortable, turn your head to one side, switching halfway through the pose.
  • Allow yourself to stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes, focusing on your breath and letting your body relax deeper into the bolster with each exhale.

 

2) Supported Fish Pose

 

 

supported fish pose
Credit: Rick Cummings

 

Props Needed: Yoga Blocks, Bolster

 

The Supported Fish Pose opens the chest and throat, encouraging deep breathing and relieving stress.

 

To execute this pose, follow the steps below:

  • Place two blocks on your mat, one for your upper back and the other for your head. The first block should be at the medium or highest height, while the second block should be at the lowest height.
  • Sit in front of the blocks and slowly lower your back onto the first block and your head onto the second. Your shoulder blades should hang off the edge of the first block, opening your chest.
  • Extend your legs and let your arms relax at your sides, palms facing up. If it's too intense, you can modify it by placing a bolster lengthwise along your spine instead of the blocks.
  • Stay in this pose for a few breaths, focusing on opening your chest with each inhale.

 

3) Supported Heart-Opening Pose

 

 Supported Heart-Opening Pose

Credit: Envato Elements/ habrovich

 

Props Needed: Yoga Wheel

 

The Supported Heart-Opening Pose stretches the chest, abdomen, and hip flexors, and can help improve posture.

 

To execute this pose, follow the steps below:

  • Sit on your mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the yoga wheel behind you at the base of your spine.
  • Lean back and place your hands on the wheel for support as you push your body up, extending your spine over the wheel.
  • Allow your head to fall back gently and your arms to relax at your sides.
  • Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes.

 

4) Supine Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

 

 Supine Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Credit: Yogajala

 

Props Needed: Yoga Strap

 

The Suppine Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose stretches the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins, and calves, and can help relieve backache.

 

To execute this pose, follow the steps below:

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Bend your right knee into your chest and loop a yoga strap around the arch of your right foot.
  • Straighten your right leg up towards the ceiling, holding the strap with both hands.
  • Keep your left leg active and pressed into the mat.
  • Hold this pose for 5-10 minutes, then switch sides.

 

5) Supported Bridge Pose

 

  Supported Bridge Pose

Credit: Inner Space Yoga Bolsters

 

Props Needed: Block, Bolster

 

The Supported Bridge Pose opens the upper body including the chest, abdomen, and also hip flexors, while also reducing anxiety and stress.

 

To execute this pose, follow the steps below:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your hips and slide a yoga block or bolster under your sacrum, the flat bone at the base of your spine.
  • Extend your arms along your sides with palms facing down and relax into the pose.
  • Maintain this pose for a few breaths.

 

Summary

 

Restorative yoga offers a holistic approach to wellness, providing a multitude of benefits that contribute to overall health and well-being. By incorporating a restorative yoga sequence into your regular routine, you can support your body's natural healing processes and cultivate a sense of balance and peace in your life. To find your favorite restorative yoga poses, experiment with a variety of poses and always remember to attentively listen to your body to prevent any potential injuries.

Are you ready to take your restorative yoga practice to the next level? Check out Acupoint's premium yoga wheel and yoga straps. Our yoga wheel is specifically designed to open up your chest, shoulders, and hip flexors whereas our yoga strap is your trusted companion for those deep stretches. Whether you're teaching restorative yoga or beginning your journey, our products will empower your practice, bringing greater comfort, support, and depth to your restorative yoga class. Shop with us today.

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