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5 Best Restorative Yoga Poses

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5 Best Restorative Yoga Poses

Many people think of yoga as active, but yoga also has a softer side. Many poses offer the opportunity for restoration, relaxation and healing. Generally restorative poses relieve stress by taking students into a deep state of relaxation. It also stimulates and soothes organs and improves concentration. A restorative practice is excellent for calming and grounding. While traditional restorative yoga uses many props such as blankets, bolsters straps, etc., these poses can be done with or without the props. If you have props available, by all means use them to help deepen your practice or as an aid for poses that require more flexibility than you currently have. These are my top 5 favorite poses to help you enjoy the benefits of restorative yoga.

1.Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

The pose described here is a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like Viparita Karani. For your support you’ll need one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster. You’ll also need to rest your legs vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright support.

  • Before performing the pose, determine two things about your support: its height and its distance from the wall. If you’re stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall. Your distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you’re shorter move closer to the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.
  • Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute “left” for “right” in these instructions). Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. The first few times you do this, you may ignominiously slide off the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don’t get discouraged. Try lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.
  • Your sitting bones don’t need to be right against the wall, but they should be “dripping” down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front of your torso seems flat, then you’ve probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.
  • Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don’t push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.
  • Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.
  • Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.

Benefits

  • Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
  • Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
  • Relieves mild backache
  • Calms the mind
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Magda Rod

Magda Freedom Rod is a yogini and health & lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles. She writes about health & wellness and offers guidance for a sustainable lifestyle. Learn more on her website Visionary-Lifestyle.com.

65 comments

+ add your own
7:09AM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

thank you.

12:25AM PDT on Nov 2, 2013

ty

1:34AM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

thanks

12:33AM PDT on Oct 7, 2013

Thank you Magda.

4:52AM PDT on Oct 6, 2013

Let's stretch out

11:49AM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

ty

2:17AM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

ty

9:02AM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

So so relaxing, indeed!

2:11PM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

continued:
"The highest form of rejuvenation
The highest form of rejuvenation is to unite the human consciousness with the infinite Cosmic Consciousness through meditation. When you are able to feel your body as vibrating currents in the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness, you will find not only perpetual rejuvenation in the soul, but also in the body. Meditation is the greatest way of resurrecting your soul from the bondage of body and all your trials. Meditate at the feet of the Infinite. Learn to saturate yourself with Him."
http://www.anandaclaritymagazine.com/2011/12/yogananda-diet-meditation-yoga/

2:09PM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

thanks

from a yogi:

"Rejuvenation through “super-relaxation”
“Super-relaxation” is the complete, voluntary withdrawal of consciousness and energy from the entire body and mind through the practice of meditation. By the practice of meditation, one achieves complete mental relaxation by releasing the consciousness from the delusion of duality and resting the mind in one’s true nature of unity in Spirit. One also achieves complete physical relaxation, inhibiting decay and the breaking down of bodily tissues. This keeps the bloodstream pure and promotes physical rejuvenation.

9. Draw on limitless cosmic energy
Willingness and determination keep the blood vitalized with life-energy. If you can maintain an attitude of joyful willingness at all times, you will find your body constantly supplied with fresh cosmic energy drawn into the body through the door of the medulla oblongata. Your blood will be charged with life-current, making it immune to the invasion of bacteria.

To keep your body vibrating with life current, strengthen your willingness and determination in everything.

10. The highest form of rejuvenation
The highest form of rejuvenation is to unite the human consciousness with the infinite Cosmic Consciousness through meditation. When you are able to feel your body as vibrating currents in the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness, you will find not only perpetual rejuvenation in the soul, but also in the body. Meditation is the greatest w

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