How Restorative Yoga Helps With Recovery

Yoga’s benefits for stress reduction and physical health are by now well-proven. However, despite yoga’s many benefits, it’s not often the first treatment people think of for recovery.

As CNN points out, yoga is increasingly being used to help assist in the recovery of cancer survivors, surgery patients and others. Specifically, restorative yoga — not high-intensity vinyasa or even hatha yoga — is helping people recover from medical crises.

What is Restorative Yoga?

Unlike some other types of yoga in which practitioners move quickly through strength-building sequences, restorative yoga is not much of an exercise routine. It often involves the use of props such as pillows and bolsters, upon which the yogis recline and relax. Placing a large pillow under your head while reclining into a child’s pose, for example, is a common restorative yoga position.

Other aspects of restorative yoga may include gentle music, dim lights and uplifting readings — the details are really up to the teacher. Positions are generally held for 2-3 minutes, with the emphasis being on allowing gravity to increase flexibility, rather than pushing or straining.

Benefits of Restorative Yoga for Recovery

All of these aspects can be incredibly stress-reducing, which is one of the reasons restorative yoga is so important for recovering patients of all kinds. Yoga is promising for the treatment of PTSD thanks to its mind-focusing and spirit-calming aspects.

There’s also a physical component that can be beneficial for patients who are recovering from physical trauma. In addition to stress relief and muscle recovery, diaphragmatic breathing has numerous physical and psychological benefits.

“Diaphragmatic breathing is your most efficient and effective ally in the recovery process,” Dana Santas writes for CNN. “It takes only 90 seconds of deep breathing to begin decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure and stimulating aspects of your nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems that promote relaxation and restoration.”

How to Get Started with a Restorative Yoga Practice

If you’d like to start a restorative yoga practice and have recently experienced some kind of medical issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor before getting started. However, once you have the green light from your doc, look for yoga classes in your area that are labeled “Restorative,” “Gentle” or “Yin” yoga.

You can also find plenty of free restorative yoga classes on YouTube, but if you have a medical issue or injury, it’s best to practice in the presence of a trained yoga teacher.

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Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Nanette a
Nanette a9 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B9 months ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE9 months ago

Thanks, although I did not know it was yoga, I often do it.

Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago


Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago


Mona M
Mona M9 months ago

Thanks for this wise article.

Lesa D
Past Member 9 months ago

thank you Maggie...

Ellie M
Ellie M9 months ago


Fiona O
Fiona Ogilvie9 months ago

Seems close to the others, just a new twist.